Education scholarship can be conducted using a variety of methods, from quantitative experiments to qualitative studies. Qualitative methods are less commonly used in emergency medicine (EM) education research but are well-suited to explore complex educational problems and generate hypotheses. We aimed to review the literature to provide resources to guide educators who wish to conduct qualitative research in EM education.
We conducted a scoping review to outline: 1) a list of journals that regularly publish qualitative educational papers; 2) an aggregate set of quality markers for qualitative educational research and scholarship; and 3) a list of quality checklists for qualitative educational research and scholarship.
We found nine journals that have published more than one qualitative educational research paper in EM. From the literature, we identified 39 quality markers that were grouped into 10 themes: Initial Grounding Work (preparation, background); Goals, Problem Statement, or Question; Methods (general considerations); Sampling Techniques; Data Collection Techniques; Data Interpretation and Theory Generation; Measures to Optimize Rigour and Trustworthiness; Relevance to the Field; Evidence of Reflective Practice; Dissemination and Reporting. Lastly, five quality checklists were found for guiding educators in reporting their qualitative work.
Many problems that EM educators face are well-suited to exploration using qualitative methods. The results of our scoping review provide publication venues, quality indicators, and checklists that may be useful to EM educators embarking on qualitative projects.