ABSTRACT: Theory development and application in medical education
The role and status of theory is by no means a new topic in medical education. Yet summarizing where we have been and where we are going with respect to theory development and application is difficult because our community has not yet fully elucidated what constitutes medical education theory. In this article, we explore the idea of conceptualizing theory as an effect on scholarly dialogue among medical educators. We describe theory-enabled conversation as argumentation, which frames inquiry, permits the evaluation of evidence, and enables the acquisition of community understanding that has utility beyond investigators’ local circumstances. We present ideas for assessing argumentation quality and suggest approaches to increasing the frequency and quality of argumentation in the exchange among diverse medical education scholars.