Educational Research

veterinary and medical education
research methodology
open science

Jill R. D. MacKay

Shelly Wu


January 29, 2024

Unless you have specific training in social science – and specifically educational – research, the thought of doing this type of study can be a little daunting. However, with some guidance and a willingness to learn, educational research can be exciting and rewarding, particularly given the vast amounts of data generated on a regular basis within such programs. This chapter presents information about the various types of research approaches – both qualitative and quantitative – used in educational research after a discussion about some of the reasons, so many are firmly rooted in quantitative approaches. It goes on to provide guidance for creating educational research studies while introducing methodologies, key terms, and data collection methods for both qualitative and quantitative approaches. A section covering the differences between the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and Institutional Review Board (IRB) and a discussion of the importance of ethics in research are included, and the chapter concludes with a brief discussion of reporting results.

Behind the Chapter

I am delighted by this publication, for so many reasons.

Firstly, this chapter was just so much fun to write. I loved having the opportunity to condense all these big ideas down into something digestible and (hopefully) useful to the veterinary education community. I’m using this as the basis for my research courses now, and there’s only one concept I now use that I wish I’d included. This is pretty good for me, who usually bounces around ideas like a hyperactive hare in March.

I loved working with my co-author Shelly, and our editor Katherine. Katherine was so engaged with the process and gave such helpful feedback at many different points. I also love Katherine’s editorial afterword in the textbook. It feels good and rewarding to be part of something that’s trying to make a difference.

On a personal level, I was invited to submit this chapter when I was just about to enter the second trimester of my pregnancy. I responded to the initial invite with the caveat that I was:

likely to be very busy January-September 2022

which makes me laugh in retrospect. I was nervous about admitting my pregnancy and long UK maternity leave entitlement but Katherine was extremely supportive, and she was right! I have a toddler now this chapter is published and out in the open!

Finally, as a small aside, the example question of ‘clapping a pig’ comes from one of my fondest anecdotes at SRUC, and some folk will laugh along with me.


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