The Hiker's Guide to the RIME Supplement: Choosing Directions in Research

Acad Med. 2020 Nov;95(11S Association of American Medical Colleges Learn Serve Lead: Proceedings of the 59th Annual Research in Medical Education Presentations):S1-S6. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000003647.


In this Commentary, the authors seek to build on prior RIME commentaries by considering how researchers transition from worldviews, focal lengths, and research goals to research directions and methodological choices. The authors use the analogy of a hiker to illustrate how different researchers studying a similar phenomenon can choose among different research directions, which lead down different paths and offer different perspectives on a problem. Following the hiker analogy, the authors use the "Research Compass" to categorize the 15 research papers included in the 2020 Research in Medical Education supplement according to their research aim and corresponding methodological approach. The authors then discuss implications of the relative balance of these study types within this supplement and within health professions education research at large, emphasizing the critical importance of studying a topic from multiple vantage points to construct a richer and more nuanced understanding of health professions education challenges. The authors conclude by recognizing the challenges we face in the current era of COVID-19 and by calling health professions education researchers and practitioners to continue our collective efforts to improve learner education and patient care, as we together navigate the unfamiliar terrain of the present day.

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus*
  • Biomedical Research / organization & administration*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Research Design
  • SARS-CoV-2