MANUSCRIPT: Limitations of poster presentations reporting educational innovations at a major international medical education conference.
Background: In most areas of medical research, the label of ‘quality’ is associated with well-accepted standards. Whilst its interpretation in the field of medical education is contentious, there is agreement on the key elements required when reporting novel teaching strategies. We set out to assess if these features had been fulfilled by poster presentations at a major international medical education conference. Methods: Such posters were analysed in four key areas: reporting of theoretical underpinning, explanation of instructional design methods, descriptions of the resources needed for introduction, and the offering of materials to support dissemination. Results: Three hundred and twelve posters were reviewed with 170 suitable for analysis. Forty-one percent described their methods of instruction or innovation design. Thirty-three percent gave details of equipment, and 29% of studies described resources that may be required for delivering such an intervention. Further resources to support dissemination of their innovation were offered by 36%. Twenty-three percent described the theoretical underpinning or conceptual frameworks upon which their work was based. Conclusions: These findings suggest that posters presenting educational innovation are currently limited in what they offer to educators. Presenters should seek to enhance their reporting of these crucial aspects by employing existing published guidance, and organising committees may wish to consider explicitly requesting such information at the time of initial submission.