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J Educ Eval Health Prof > Epub ahead of print
J Educ Eval Health Prof. 2018; 15: 25.
Published online October 16, 2018.
[Epub ahead of print]
Benefit of focus group discussion beyond online survey in course evaluations by medical students in the United States: A qualitative study
Katharina Brandl1  , Soniya V. Rabadia2  , Alexander Chang2  , Jess Mandel2 
1Division of Clinical Pharmacy, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA
2School of Medicine, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA
Correspondence  Katharina Brandl ,Email:
Editor:  Sun Huh, Hallym University, Korea
Submitted: August 30, 2018  Accepted after revision: October 16, 2018
In addition to online questionnaires, many medical schools use supplemental evaluation tools such as focus groups to evaluate their courses. Although some benefits of using focus groups in program evaluation have been described, it is unknown whether these in-person data collection methods provide sufficient additional information beyond online evaluations to justify them. In this study we analyze recommendations gathered from student evaluation team (SET) focus group meetings and analyzed whether these items were captured in open-ended comments within the online evaluations. Our results indicate that online evaluations captured only 49% of the recommendations identified via SETs. Surveys to course directors identified that 74% of the recommendations exclusively identified via the SETs were implemented within their courses. Our results indicate that SET meetings can provide information not easily captured in online evaluations and that these recommendations result in actual course changes.
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