Aims and Scope
International Journal of Health Sciences is a forum for scholarly and state-of-the-art research into all aspects of health sciences education. It will publish empirical studies as well as discussions of theoretical issues and practical implications. The primary focus of the Journal is linking theory to practice, thus priority will be given to papers that have a sound theoretical basis and strong methodology.
The Journal will accept articles on topics such as admissions, problem-based and self-directed learning, faculty development, achievement testing, motivation, curriculum development, curricular comparisons, program evaluation, expertise development, clinical reasoning, continuing education, community-based education, and communication skills (the list is intended as illustrative, not exhaustive). All rigorous methodologies, both quantitative and qualitative, are encouraged. It is aimed at all those committed to the improvement of health professions education: researchers and educators in the fields of medicine, dentistry, nursing, health professions, pharmacology, toxicology, pharmaceutical science, veterinary science occupational therapy, physiotherapy, nutrition, and related disciplines.
From the perspective of external validity, it is critical that authors place their study in a theoretical and empirical context. IJHS has no page limit, in order that each paper can be accompanied by a critical review of related research, and the discussion can highlight how the study findings add to knowledge. Authors are encouraged to explore their study from multiple analytical perspectives, to include multiple converging studies if possible, and to specifically state how the study findings add to knowledge in the field.
The editors will not consider studies where the only outcome is a person's opinion or perception of the extent to which they believe they have learned something or improved their skills. The reason is simply that the evidence is consistent that people are not capable of accurate self-assessment, so any form of self-assessed improvement cannot be used as an outcome. Self-assessed measures of confidence or competence may well appear to show large differences in response to an educational intervention but are themselves weak surrogates for actual achievement.
From the perspective of educational importance, studies of a single course or program with weak evidence of effectiveness, such as student ratings, are discouraged as they are unlikely to add to generalizable knowledge unless the study permits an empirical test of theoretical predictions. Further, evaluations of any technology, without consideration of the mechanisms that lead to an observed change, are of limited value. Similarly, proving that some education is better than no education, an educational “placebo-controlled trial;” has very limited value. We will not consider such studies for publication.
An important criterion for acceptance is educational significance. Studies may be methodologically strong, and effects may be statistically significant, but that does not equate to importance. From the perspective of internal validity, small effects, and associations, as are typically observed in studies of personality or learning style, may well achieve statistical significance with large samples but have little educational importance. Similarly, self-assessed measures of confidence or competence may well appear to show large differences in response to an educational intervention but are themselves weak surrogates for actual achievement.
It is hoped that the absence of a word limit will encourage authors to consider full exploration of a question, including multiple converging studies in the same paper. The Journal strongly discourages multiple publications derived from a single study, unless the questions asked are distinct and non-overlapping. As a matter of policy, authors are required to fully disclose other related publications, either published, submitted or under review. We will not consider submissions where aspects of the study have already been published elsewhere unless the author makes a convincing case for the distinctiveness of the new submission.
The Reflections section encourages submissions of various formats. Critical reviews of important developments in the field will be particularly encouraged since advances in a field can only result from a deep understanding of what has already been accomplished. In addition, the editors encourage submission of new ideas or philosophical musings on health sciences education: papers that are not necessarily empirical in nature.
Manuscripts for Reflections and Reviews must appeal to all readers, regardless of their home health profession (medicine, pharmacy, etc.), educational level of interest (e.g. med student, continuing education) or research discipline (qualitative, experimental, etc.). Only very high-quality papers of wide interest will be accepted in the Reflections and Reviews sections. Authors should know that the likelihood of acceptance is quite low.
"Methodologist’s Corner", "From the Archives", and "If I Had Known Then" are special invited submissions which will appear from time to time. Editors of these sections are identified in the journal description and can be approached for potential topics.