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Developing an Evidence Based Approach to the Evaluation of Teaching Effectiveness

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  • Full or part time
    Dr C Bell
    Prof S Rhind
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Teaching effectiveness (TE) is a now a strategic and ‘unambiguous priority’ for the University of Edinburgh, and measures of TE are likely to be key metrics used in any future Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) or similar exercise.

Supervisors (SMR and CB) have recently authored a textbook chapter (accepted for publication) on the topic of ‘Assessing TE’. This identified a paucity of relevant veterinary education publications, and limited evidence from other healthcare professions. Several tools for assessing TE are available, however, concerns exist about the lack of reliability and validity of many of these (Beckman et al, 2004, Berk, 2013), and to date only one tool has been validated within veterinary medical education (Boerboom et al., 2011).

Obvious links between TE and feedback also exist, for example in terms of how staff receive and act on feedback to ‘close the loop’ and optimise their teaching, which in turn may relate to how students formulate and present feedback to them.

This PhD project will undertake research into robust evidence-based evaluations of TE, and will incorporate an evaluation of the impact of the existing R(D)SVS Faculty Development program.

Key research questions:
Which tools are most appropriate, valid, and reliable for the assessment of TE?

What are the barriers to successfully implementing TE assessment tools, and how can these be overcome?

Which factors influence how staff receive and act on student feedback?

How can students be encouraged to provide staff with constructive feedback?

Training will include:
Literature review

Qualitative research (focus group interviews, coding, thematic analysis)

Quantitative research (questionnaire design and delivery, data analysis)

Oral and written presentation skills (conferences and publications).

Applications including a statement of interest and full CV with names and addresses (including email addresses) of two academic referees, should be sent to: Liz Archibald, The Roslin Institute, The University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush, Midlothian, EH25 9RG or emailed to [Email Address Removed].

When applying for the studentship please state clearly the title of the studentship and the supervisor/s in your covering letter.

All applicants should also apply through the University’s on-line application system for September 2016 entry via

International students should also apply for an Edinburgh Global Research Studentship (



BECKMAN, T. J., GHOSH, A. K., COOK, D. A., ERWIN, P. J. & MANDREKAR, J. N. 2004. How Reliable Are Assessments of Clinical Teaching? Journal of General Internal Medicine, 19, 971-977.

BOERBOOM, T. B. B., DOLMANS, D. H. J. M., JAARSMA, A. D. C., MUIJTJENS, A. M. M., VAN BEUKELEN, P. & SCHERPBIER, A. J. J. A. 2011. Exploring the validity and reliability of a questionnaire for evaluating veterinary clinical teachers’ supervisory skills during clinical rotations. Medical Teacher, 33, e84-e91

BERK, R. A. 2013. Top five flashpoints in the assessment of teaching effectiveness. Medical Teacher, 35, 15-26.

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