This source preferred by Sarah Hean

Authors: Hean, S.

Start date: April 2009

Background Historically, interprofessional educational (IPE) curriculum design and evaluation has been described as superficial and theory-less. However, theory and practice are interdependent and IPE can be improved if the theory underpinning our actions is effectively described and subsequently scrutinised.

Aims In this paper, we describe the aims, rationale and outputs of a seminar series funded by the Economics and Social Research Council in the United Kingdom. One aim of this series was a heuristic, critical comparison of IPE theories that underpin our practice. We focus particularly on the first of these seminars.

Materials and Methods The seminar attracted participants from IPE practice and research. Three perspectives on IPE were presented, representing the domains of education, sociology and psycho-sociology respectively. Subsequently, seminar participants worked together to assess the usefulness and application of these perspectives to IPE education and practice. The outcomes of group discussions, reflective exercises and evaluations were recorded and analysed.

Results A theory less description of IPE no longer stands but decisions need to be made as to which and why certain theories take priority. Participants have shown a varied preference for theories as might be expected from a diverse range of professional and academic backgrounds. Some consensus as to the nature and the future direction IPE theory has been achieved. This consensus and the perspectives participants bring to this series, their views on theory and the way they propose to move forward theory based practice will be presented. Conclusions Through presentation of the outcomes of the introductory seminar, we propose how theoretical development in IPE curriculum design, evaluation and practice might proceed. We propose the content of the remaining seminars in the series and invite international and national colleagues to participate in developing IPE theory that is both rigorous and useful to practice.

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