Health and Rehab SciWestern Health Sciences

Health Professional Education

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This field supports research in the broad area of health professional education and practice. Philosophically, the field is informed by an experiential adult learning model, grounded in open dialogue, collaboration, and commitment to the development of a supportive learning community. The focus is on transdisciplinary and critical issues that cross health and social care disciplines. Topics may include:

  • Interprofessional education
  • Reflective/reflexive practice
  • Preceptorship and mentorship
  • Patient-/client-/family-centered practice
  • Educational assessment
  • Technology in education & practice
  • Ethical Issues
  • Arts & humanities in health professional education
  • Critical and transdisciplinary perspectives
  • Communities of practice
  • Leadership
  • Mindfulness

Field Goals

In order to achieve the following goals, each student in the HPE field, under the supervision of a faculty member and an advisory committee, will develop and complete a scholarly thesis, as well as actively participate in the scientific activities of the program. Doctoral students will also
engage in the comprehensive examination process by exploring a substantive topic relevant to their field of study.

The goals of this field of study are to:

  1. Educate students to contribute to the advancement of scholarship in Health Professional Education and Practice

  2. Bring together students and faculty from within Health Sciences, as well as Education and Medicine and Dentistry, and other interested Faculties, to form a Community of Practice of researchers committed to improving professional education and practice in health and social care disciplines

  3. Provide society with graduates qualified to function in a variety of roles. These could include academic scholars and researchers, advanced scientist-practitioners in health and social care disciplines, and expert research consultants to government ministries

Field Requirements

Students must complete three mandatory half-credit courses:

Methods Course

MSc Courses

HS 9601a - Quantitative Methods in Health Sciences - 0.5 credit
*HS 9515 (statistics) is strongly recommended as a precursor to this course.
This course covers three general topics: measurement, hypothesis testing and research design, and the role of research evidence in clinical practice. Although formulas are presented and calculationsare performed, the principal orientation of the course is conceptual rather than mathematical.

HS 9602a - Qualitative Research Methods in Health Sciences - 0.5 credit
This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the qualitative paradigm and its current and potential applications in health and rehabilitation sciences. The philosophical assumptions that form an integral part of the qualitative paradigm will be examined, as will the assumptions underlying various qualitative schools of inquiry (e.g., grounded theory, phenomenology, ethnography, action research, narrative). Key considerations in the critical evaluation and design of qualitative studies within several schools of inquiry relevant to health and rehabilitation sciences will be addressed. Students will have opportunities to engage in critical analysis of qualitative research; discuss ethical issues related to the conduct of qualitative research; and engage in the process of proposal development within a group.

PhD Courses

HS 9707a – Linear Regression for Health & Rehabilitation Sciences - 0.5 credit
*HS 9601 is recommended as a precursor to this course

This course is an introduction to linear regression for health sciences, examining simple regression, multiple regression, the use of categorical independent variables, and the fitting of interaction terms. Although formulas are given and calculations are presented, the principal orientation of the course is conceptual rather than mathematical.

HS 9708 – Advanced Topics in Qualitative Research - 0.5 credit
*HS 9602 is recommended as a precursor to this course

This course will give learners the opportunity to learn how to rigorously and systematically analyse qualitative data in the form of interview transcripts from a study on women's experience of aging and osteoporosis. The course will begin with a review of the three key qualitative approaches or research designs used in the health sciences (grounded theory, qualitative case study and phenomenology). Next, we will highlight how the approaches are shaped by specific research paradigms (post-positivism, interpretivism/constructivism or critical theory).

HS 9709b – ANOVA-based Methods of Data Analysis - 0.5 credit
*HS 9601 is recommended as a precursor to this course

This course will explore ANOVA based methods of data analysis, including t test, ANOVA, ANCOVA, Split-plot ANOVA, Factorial ANOVA, and MANOVA.

HS 9730b – Philosophical Foundations of Qualitative Research - 0.5 credit
*HS 9602 is recommended as a precursor to this course

This course provides an introduction to philosophical foundations of qualitative research with a particular focus on interpretive and critical paradigms of inquiry. Assumptions about what constitutes knowledge (epistemology), the nature of existence (ontology), and means for gaining knowledge (methodology) within different knowledge paradigms are considered. Students examine philosophical and theoretical perspectives that underpin various schools to qualitative inquiry and identify perspectives relevant to the coherent and rigorous design of research. Within this course, students explore perspectives that relate to their own research interests; expand their familiarity with the specialized terminology adopted in qualitative research; consider approaches to representing, writing and publishing qualitative research; and investigate implications for the design and evaluation of qualitative research in health and social care. This course is highly recommended for doctoral level students completing a qualitative research dissertation, and is open to highly motivated Masters level students wishing to deepen their research knowledge.

HS 9788 - Advanced Quantitative - 0.5 credit
This course is designed to provide participants with solid foundation of clinical research methods including study design and critical appraisal of studies evaluating the effectiveness of an intervention (randomized trials and observational studies), diagnostic test accuracy, identification of risk factors for disease development or prognostic factors for disease outcomes, and systematic reviews with meta-analysis.

Field Based Course or Equivalent

HS 9610 - HPE: Current Topics, Perspectives and Research Issues - 0.5 credit
This seminar course investigates current topics in health professional education and is reading intensive, interactive, and dialogic. Faculty members and students from across the field join the course to facilitate discussions on special topics and current research in the field. Topics may include but are not limited to: principles of adult and lifelong learning, clinical reasoning, critical thinking, reflective practice, client/family centred practice, communities of practice, applied ethics, evidence-based practice, relational learning and mentorship, collaboration and teamwork, interprofessional education, critical perspectives in professional education, humanities in health professional education, leadership, and learning organizations.

HS 9710a - Reflective Practice & Professional Knowledge in Health and Social Care - 0.5 credit
Reflective practice is perhaps the most popular theory influencing professional education in the last 20 years. This course critically examines the historical and contemporary discourses surrounding the theory of reflective practice and the implications for professional education. The course also investigates the broader notion of epistemologies of practice and considers the ways in which reflection, critical reflection, reflective practice, and dialogue shape the cultivation of professional knowledge in health and human service professions. Reflection in this course is examined along a continuum that includes narrative and aesthetic modes of reflection, intentional cognitive reflection, embodied or tacit reflection and critical reflexivity as they relate to professional knowledge. Attention is drawn to epistemologies of practice in light of traditional divides between theory and practice, and to the role of dialogue in knowledge exchange within communities of practice.

Elective (Recommended by Advisory Committee)

HRS course electives include:

  • HS 9623 - Perspectives in Knowledge Translation
  • HS 9632 - Current Topics in Child & Youth Health
  • HS 9801 - Motor Control

Course electives offered by other programs:

  • Nursing 9685 - Policy Development & Analysis I

As necessary, students may need to take the courses listed below as pre- or co-requisite courses.

HS 9515a - Introduction to Statistics for Health & Rehabilitation Sciences - 0.5 credit
This is an introductory statistics course for students entering the Graduate Program in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. It includes data presentation and normalization, types of variables and levels of measurement, descriptive statistics, and hypothesis testing using both nonparametric and parametric procedures. This course is designed to introduce techniques used to analyze quantitative data used in health-related research and allied fields. Emphasis will be placed on the basic concepts of quantitative analysis including an introduction to multivariate analysis, and the use of statistical software.

HS 9516a - Introduction to Research Methods Health & Rehabilitation - 0.5 credit
This course addresses foundational knowledge and skills contributing to the development of students as early researchers. In this course, students will explore the philosophical assumptions underlying qualitative and quantitative methodologies, develop an appreciation of the potential contributions of various types of research, and reflect on their own assumptions and values regarding what they view as credible knowledge and ways of knowing. Students will discuss essential research elements, ethical principles and quality criteria relevant to qualitative and quantitative methodologies and designs, and will begin to develop critical appraisal skills.

Students must attend and participate in Seminar Milestones:

HRS Common Seminar

1 year

Several seminars are open to all faculty and students in the HRS program, and are regularly scheduled thorough the academic year. Announcements about the speaker and specific topics addressed in each seminar will be provided via e-mails (Amber Trent) and posted on the HRS seminar board. Topics and format of these seminars may vary. A student may be required to attend one or more of these seminar series depending on their field and/or based on the recommendations of their advisory committee.

The Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (HRS) Common Seminar is a required program milestone. MSc and PhD students must attend regularly the seminar in their first year of enrolment in the HRS Program. The seminar is intended to provide a forum for scholarly interactions among students registered in the various fields comprising the HRS program. In addition, the seminar is designed and will be run to foster the development of research skills necessary for graduate school success.

Participation in Field Based Seminar

1 year for MSc; 2 years for PhD

Health Professional Education Seminar Series
This is a seminar series for students in the HPE field. It is typically held every two or three weeks over the fall and winter terms. Students and faculty members have the opportunity to present work-in-progress for formative feedback from the Health Professional Education community of practice. This seminar series offers the opportunity for members of the group to present and discuss their scholarly work, prior to presenting at conferences, or to other groups, or as a means to test out and brainstorm about research ideas. MSc students take part in at least one presentation (e.g. thesis proposal, work-in-progress, practice talk as part of preparation for a conference presentation or defense preparation). PhD students present their thesis proposals, once approved by their committees, and are encouraged to present other work-in-progress. Faculty members are invited to share their work in this venue. Attendance is mandatory for MSc students in the first year and PhD students in the first two years of the program. It is highly recommended and encouraged that students continue to participate throughout their tenure in the program.

All PhD students must pass a formal comprehensive examination as a requirement of the PhD degree:

Candidacy Examination (PhD Requirement)

The exam consists of a written paper of publishable quality in peer-reviewed manuscript or book chapter format.

The purpose of the candidacy examination is to:

  • Demonstrate scholarly writing
  • Demonstrate a critical synthesis of theory and literature
  • Situate the student’s planned research within the field, including theory, research literature, and research methods

This paper will be evaluated by the Candidacy Examination Committee: the student’s supervisor, and two other individuals.  Normally, all 3 examiners will have PhD-Level Training, and will have graduate membership in SGPS.  Other individuals who may be external to the field, program, or university, can act as examiners as long as s/he is approved by the Health & Rehabilitation Sciences program.

The exam must be completed successfully in order for students to begin the thesis phase. The Procedure, planning form, and evaluation form can be found on the HRS Program OWL web-site.