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Scholarship in the Literature
Scholarly rigor and the production of a scholarly product are key elements of the SC Program. The promotion of “scholarship” as part of medical education at Brown University requires a shared understanding of the term.
In 1990, Ernest Boyer expanded our definition of scholarship to include the full scope of academic work. He proposed three additional areas of scholarship beyond the traditional “scholarship of discovery” that encompasses original research. “Scholarship of integration” refers to interdisciplinary work in which connections are made across research fields, and to the grounding of discovery in wider contexts. “Scholarship of application” refers to the bidirectional feedback loop between theory and practice, and is particularly relevant to service aspects of academic life. Finally, “scholarship of teaching” refers to effective communication of knowledge to learners, and to the creation and sharing of knowledge about the practice of teaching.
The SC Program incorporates elements from each of these domains. First and foremost, each concentration area is explicitly designed to cross traditional biomedical disciplines (scholarship of integration). Additionally, a student’s experience within a concentration area might include work that falls within other scholarship domains.
For example, a student concentrating in Technology, Innovation and Management might develop a biotech tool that spans the disciplines of engineering and medicine (scholarship of integration). The student then focuses her efforts on documenting the uses of that tool and its effect on patient outcomes (scholarship of application). Another student might choose a concentration in Medical Education which allows him to extend the bench research he has been pursuing (scholarship of integration). During his concentration he might write curricula for a preclinical course that incorporates his research findings, and solicit peer review of his lecture and presentation skills of that research content (scholarship of teaching).
Boyer EL. Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate. Princeton, MJ: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 1990.
In general, all scholarly work undertaken as part of the Scholarly Concentrations Program should involve significant original, synthetic, creative, and/or analytic processes on the part of the student participants.
As you begin to work on your academic product, librarians are available for one-on-one research consultation, to help you with all aspects of the research process, including:
- Figuring out research topic ideas
- Finding background information on your topic
- Identifying high quality, scholarly resources for your topic or project
- Strategizing on how to manage citations
Contact Erika_Sevetson@brown.edu to set up a research session. She is located at the George S. Champlin Memorial Library, room 155, or the Sciences Library, room 721.
Every student who participates in a concentration must submit a scholarly product in Year IV. These products should represent the culmination of concentration project work undertaken over the past several years. Traditional forms of scholarly work, such as a publication in a peer-reviewed journal or presentation at a national conference, are appropriate.
However, other more non-traditional products are also acceptable. Scholarly products might take the form of:
- development and evaluation of a new curricular module;
- creation of an academic symposium;
- evaluation of an outreach program;
- documentation of a legislative campaign;
- development of a significant original piece of literature, art or music;
- development of a bioengineering tool or biomedical software product;
- development of new clinical protocols;
Regardless of the form of the scholarly work, the work must include some articulation of your analytic/synthetic thought and creative process. For most scholarly products, this articulation will be in the form of a written component, including relevant literature and references. However there may be some cases in which a written component is not necessary. For example, a film that includes a spoken narrative that is analytic in nature may not need to also include an analytic written component.
Also, the public sharing of data and discovery is an integral part of scholarship. Students should develop their products to the level at which they would be ready to disseminate and share their insights and their product in a professional forum -- whether an oral presentation, poster, article, or similar. Some presentation of your scholarly work will be expected- please be prepared to share your work according to the particular requirements of your concentration area.
Included here are several examples of scholarly product development:
Scholarly Product Example #1: John Student is participating in the Advocacy and Activism concentration area. John’s interest is in Native American health, and he spent the summer between Years I and II at a clinic on a reservation collecting data about the prevalence of diabetes. Early in his fourth year, John facilitated a symposium in which he brought together leaders in the field of Native American Health for a two-day conference. John’s scholarly product is a portfolio of his advocacy work in which he documents the design and organization of the conference; his research into current issues in the field (which informed the choice of workshop topics for the conference); the poster he created about his own experience on the reservation; and program evaluation data from symposium participants. Additionally, John’s portfolio contains a written document in which he articulates his motivation for developing the symposium, the major lessons learned from the process, and the ways in which his own experiences with Native American populations related to the discussions that occurred during the academic conference. The document also articulates the ways in which John sees advocacy playing a role in his career going forward.
Scholarly Product Example #2: Gina Student is participating in the Global Health concentration area. Gina spent the summer between Years I and II in Africa with a non-profit organization focused on patient education and maternal health. Gina’s scholarly product is a descriptive write up of the program and her role as a patient educator. Gina also describes how she adapted many of the patient education materials and procedures to a low-income population here at home. Her document includes a thoughtful comparison of the educational needs of two very different patient populations, as well as examples from the bi-lingual materials Gina created. Gina presented her scholarly work to a group consisting of Global Health concentration students and faculty, her project mentors, and the local clinic personnel.
Scholarly Product Example #3: George Student is participating in the Medical Technology and Innovation concentration area. George spent the summer between Years I and II in an engineering lab, working on the development of a new device to better deliver asthma medications. George continued his lab work part time throughout Year II, and during some elective time in Year IV. While the device is not yet ready for manufacturing, George can easily document his contributions to the project. These contributions included a review of relevant literature, the oversight of several aspects of product testing, and a number of presentations to the lab’s journal club. Also as part of his scholarly product, George submitted a draft of the business plan he developed for the device.
NOTE: Please speak with your concentration area Director if you have any questions and concerns about your scholarly product and its development.
Evaluation of Scholarly Work
Ultimately, faculty will be evaluating the scholarly products produced by participating students. According to Charles Glassick (1997), in order to be considered “scholarly”, educational activities must be characterized by:
- clear goals
- adequate preparation
- appropriate methodology
- significant results
- effective presentation, and
- reflective critique
Faculty will be assessing your work according to Glassick’s dimensions:
Clear Goals: Did you set out clear goals in your project proposal? Did you outline a plan to meet those goals? If over the course of the concentration the goals of the project changed, did you articulate and follow up on new goals? Does the final product meet the goals of the project?
Adequate Preparation: Did you outline a plan by which you would gain an appropriate level of understanding of the issues at hand? Did you pursue varied and valid sources of information in order to increase your understanding? Does the final product reflect a deep and complex understanding of the project and its context?
Appropriate Methodology: Did you outline appropriate means by which to meet the goals of your project? Was the methodology followed in a rigorous manner? Did you adapt your methodology to changing circumstances if necessary? Does the final product reflect application of a systematic approach to the development of knowledge?
Significant Results: Did you articulate (if applicable) a hypothesis about what you would achieve? Was the hypothesis thoughtful, reasonable and achievable? Did you achieve the anticipated result? Does the final product reflect a significant achievement, impact, or a significant increase in understanding?
Effective Presentation: Did you outline a plan to communicate your knowledge to others? Did you identify the appropriate audience for your presentation? Were you successful in communicating what you know in a way that was beneficial to the audience?
Reflective Critique: As you progressed through the concentration, did you demonstrate an ability to reflect upon your work? Did you demonstrate the ability to receive feedback and integrate new information into the project? Does the final presentation of the work reflect a thoughtful understanding of the project’s strengths and weaknesses, of further areas of study, and of future applications of the work?
Glassick CE, Huber MR, Maeroff GI. Scholarship Assessed- Evaluation of the Professoriate. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 1997.