Evaluating Interprofessional EducationAn important part of planning an Interprofessional Education initiative is deciding what to evaluate and how to conduct the evaluation.
An excellent resource is Freeth, D., Reeves, S., Koppel, I., Hammick, M., Barr, H. (2005) Evaluating Interprofessional Education: A Self-Help Guide Higher Education Academy. We recommend that you download and use this reference. We acknowledge and thank the authors for allowing us to borrow from their material below.
Another useful resource is Oandasan, I. and Reeves, S. (2005) Key elements of interprofessional education: Factors, processes and outcomes Journal of Interprofessional Care (May 2005) Supplement 1: 39-48.
First stepsHow do you decide what you need or want to evaluate? Your interest could be wide-ranging or fairly narrow. Practical constraints of time and resources will have an impact. Before setting on a course of action, take some time to reflect on the following questions.
Determining the purposes of evaluationThree of the most important axes of difference in relation to the aim and purpose of an evaluation are shown in the table below. (Freeth et al, 2005)
Some axes of evaluation
Where should your evaluation lie on each of the axes in the table above? To guide your decisions you also need to ask yourself:
Consider the format and objectives of the interprofessional education planned, and its wider context and role and answer the question: "What aspects of the interprofessional education do I want to find out more about?"
Freeth & Reeves (2004) elaborated on the work of Biggs (1994) to produce a 3P approach to evaluating IPE. According to their model, evaluation can centre on the PRESAGE (influences or constraints of the initiative), the PROCESS, or the PRODUCT. Determining which aspect is of most interest to you will help to determine the evaluation methods you might want to employ.
If you are interested in exploring PROCESS consider using qualitative methods such as observation. If you want to explore the PRODUCT or OUTCOMES of an IPE iniitiatve, a quantitative evaluation, for example using before-and-after questionnaires, might be more appropriate.
If OUTCOMES are your interest, the following chart might help you find a focus.
Classification of the possible outcomes of interprofessional education
Modified Kirkpatrick's Model of Educational Outcomes for IPE in Freeth et al. (2002, p.14).
The design of evaluation can vary depending on your purpose. Previous IPE evaluations have used a variety of designs including before-and-after, longitudinal, post-intervention, case study, randomized control trial and action research. In their review, Freeth et al. (2002) mention that the majority of published studies about IPE have used quantitative data with limited interpretation. They suggest that more interpretive, well-conducted qualitiative or mixed-mode studies would be beneficial to the field.
Validated measures include:
Ethical ClearancDon't forget that any research involving human subjects at the University of Toronto requires ethical clearance from the Ethics Review Office (ERO). Evaluations taking place in practice settings will also require approval from the appropriate hospital board.
Next stepsEducators at the University of Toronto are encouraged to evaluate any interprofessional education initiatives undertaken.
For assistance in planning the evaluation of University of Toronto IPE initiatives, please contact:
Scott Reeves, PhD MSc BSc PGCE,
Associate Professor, Department of Family & Community Medicine, University of Toronto Director of Research, Centre for Faculty Development at St Michael’s Hospital Scientist, Wilson Centre for Research in Education, University Health Network