Current and recent research projects

Since the establishment of CRMDE, its members have undertaken a wide range of research projects with the aim of improving the evidence base for the education of health professionals. The Centre has built local, regional, national and international networks of collaborators and applies a range of methodological approaches to projects. Areas of enquiry include: 

  • Selection; 
  • Curriculum and assessment; 
  • Careers support; 
  • Continuing Professional Development; 
  • Multi-Professional education and training; 
  • Systematic Reviews.

Findings from projects are disseminated through a range of journals and at national and international conferences. Project reports can also be obtained from the Centre.

Evaluation of General Practice Recruitment Processes

There is national concern that too few General Practice doctors (GPs) are being trained, but any lowering of selection standards may result in unacceptable increases in remediation costs (and threats to patient safety) if poorer trainees are appointed.  Consequently, Health Education England (HEE) has commissioned this evaluation to see if the GP recruitment process is fit for purpose.

This evaluation investigates the reliability, validity, educational impact, acceptability of the method to the stakeholders, and cost of the GP recruitment process. Reliability will be investigated within a multilevel framework to increase the factors that can be included in generalizability analysis. Likewise, multi-facet Rasch modelling will allow modelling of examiner, simulator and case differences. Differential validity and differential prediction analyses will allow exploration of issues related to fairness in greater depth and provide more accurate estimates for the economic analyses than could be otherwise undertaken.  Cost-effectiveness analyses will provide estimates of the impact of potential changes to selection on GP summative assessments. Educational impact and acceptability will be investigated using surveys of applicants.

The principle investigator is Ian Davison, who is working with Celia Taylor, University of Warwick and Professor Chris McManus, University College, London.

Generalisability analysis of PACES

PACES is the Part 2 Clinical Examination for Membership of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP(UK)). It is designed to test the clinical knowledge and skills of trainee doctors who wish to enter higher specialist training (ST3).   In collaboration with MRCP(UK) and Professor Chris McManus, University College, London,  statistical analyses are being undertaken of anonymised test data. This is employing MCMC multilevel modelling to estimate sources of unreliability of PACES using a Generalisability framework. 

Work related training in the health sector

This project examines the impact of individual and organisational characteristics on participation in four types of training in NHS trusts in England in 2006 and 2009. The analysis includes measures of the perceived effectiveness of this training and data on high and low-skilled staff also provides evidence on the effect of the NHS’ commitment to the development of low skilled staff. The principal investigator is Professor Hywel Thomas


Thomas, H. and Qiu, T. (2012) Work-related continuing education and training: participation and effectiveness, Journal of Workplace Learning, 24(3)

Workforce reform and work related education and training

This research is a comparative analysis of the work related education and training of teaching assistants and nursing assistants. Comparative studies such as this are rare and provide an opportunity to appraise aspects of training that could not be undertaken by focusing on a single occupational group. The principal investigator is Professor Hywel Thomas.