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Student attitudes to peer physical examination : a qualitative study of changes in expressed willingness to participate.

McLachlan, J.C. and White, P. and Donnelly, L. and Patten, D. (2010) 'Student attitudes to peer physical examination : a qualitative study of changes in expressed willingness to participate.', Medical teacher., 32 (2). e101-e105.


Background: A number of studies have explored student attitudes to examining each other (peer physical examination: PPE). Differences have emerged in whether students prefer to be examined by friends or strangers. Changes have been reported in how students feel about PPE if asked before or after the PPE programme commences. Research intention: Since a Grounded Theory paradigm was employed, there was no formal research hypothesis: the research intention was to explore factors which might underlie changes in student willingness to undertake PPE following familiarity with the process. Methods: Students who had completed an Examining Fellow Students Questionnaire at the beginning and end of the academic year, and who had indicated a change in willingness to participate, were invited to attend focus groups. Four focus groups were convened and transcripts were analysed for common themes. Results: Surprisingly, students downplayed the significance of changes. Also unexpectedly, dichotomous views emerged on familiarity, with some students preferring friends for examination and others preferring strangers. Staff embarrassment also emerged as a factor inhibiting student participation. Conclusions: The significance of reported changes in attitudes to PPE may have been exaggerated. Proposals for increasing the willingness of students to participate in PPE are developed from the emergent themes.

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Record Created:30 Oct 2012 15:05
Last Modified:06 Nov 2012 11:16

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