Abstract Background As a community of practice (CoP), medical education depends on its research literature to communicate new knowledge, examine alternative perspectives, and share methodological innovations. As a key route of communication, the medical education CoP must be concerned about the rigor and validity of its research literature, but prior studies have suggested the need to improve medical education research quality. Of concern in the present study is the question of how responsive the medical education research literature is to changes in the CoP. We examine the nature and extent of changes in the quality of medical education research over a decade, using a widely cited study of research quality in the medical education research literature as a benchmark to compare more recent quality indicators. Methods A bibliometric analysis was conducted to examine the methodologic quality of quantitative medical education research studies published in 13 selected journals from September 2013 to December 2014. Quality scores were calculated for 482 medical education studies using a 10-item Medical Education Research Study Quality Instrument (MERSQI) that has demonstrated strong validity evidence. These data were compared with data from the original study for the same journals in the period September 2002 to December 2003. Eleven investigators representing 6 academic medical centers reviewed and scored the research studies that met inclusion and exclusion criteria. Primary outcome measures include MERSQI quality indicators for 6 domains: study design, sampling, type of data, validity, data analysis, and outcomes. Results There were statistically significant improvements in four sub-domain measures: study design, type of data, validity and outcomes. There were no changes in sampling quality or the appropriateness of data analysis methods. There was a small but significant increase in the use of patient outcomes in these studies. Conclusions Overall, we judge this as equivocal evidence for the responsiveness of the research literature to changes in the medical education CoP. This study identified areas of strength as well as opportunities for continued development of medical education research.
|Date made available||2022|