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Title: The Development of an Inventory to Explore Study Group Function
Authors: Morris, Holly
Batchelder, Andrew
First Published: 14-Sep-2018
Publisher: Springer Verlag (Germany)
Citation: Medical Science Educator, 2018
Abstract: Aims Courses for undergraduate medical students, particularly those with a problem-based learning curriculum, use small study groups as a key learning modality. Our aim was to design and validate an inventory to measure students’ perceptions of the functioning of their study group. Methods The initial items were derived from focus group discussions with four domains subsequently generated by the authors from the data. Students in years one and two were invited to respond to each item without being aware of the domain names. Collated responses were scrutinised and allocation of items to each domain was considered by each author with duplicate or ambiguous items being discounted. The resulting inventory was used to evaluate the perceptions of students in the succeeding year. The items were triangulated alongside the student perceptions by eliciting the opinions of small group teachers and personal tutors. Results Forty-seven items were derived from four focus group discussions and an initial pilot. Subsequently 49.2% (n = 472) of year one and two students completed the first version of the inventory. After analysis of their responses, 24 items were allocated to four domains. When used with 32 study groups in the succeeding cohort of 274 first-year students, the inventory ranked them in order. The lowest scoring groups were also identified by tutors and teachers as problematic. Conclusion We have developed an inventory to evaluate students’ learning experiences in small groups to meet a need for medical schools that wish to monitor this aspect of their courses. Furthermore, the results have the potential to enhance the function of small study groups.
DOI Link: 10.1007/s40670-018-0617-3
eISSN: 2156-8650
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © the authors, 2018. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Cardiovascular Sciences

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