Identifying the core concepts of pharmacology education

Paul J. White, Elizabeth A. Davis, Marina Santiago, Tom Angelo, Alison Shield, Anna-Marie Babey, Barbara Kemp-Harper, Gregg Maynard, Hesham S. Al-Sallami, Ian F. Musgrave, Lynette B. Fernandes, Suong N. T. Ngo, Tina Hinton

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    4 Citations (Scopus)
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    Pharmacology education currently lacks an agreed knowledge curriculum. Evidence from physics and biology education indicates that core concepts are useful and effective structures around which such a curriculum can be designed to facilitate student learning. Building on previous work, we developed a novel, criterion-based method to identify the core concepts of pharmacology education. Five novel criteria were developed, based on a literature search, to separate core concepts in pharmacology from topics and facts. Core concepts were agreed to be big ideas, enduring, difficult, applicable across contexts, and useful to solve problems. An exploratory survey of 33 pharmacology educators from Australia and New Zealand produced 109 terms, which were reduced to a working list of 26 concepts during an online workshop. Next, an expert group of 12 educators refined the working list to 19 concepts, by applying the five criteria and consolidating synonyms, and added three additional concepts that emerged during discussions. A confirmatory survey of a larger group resulted in 17 core concepts of pharmacology education. This list may be useful for educators to evaluate existing curricula, design new curricula, and to inform the development of a concept inventory to test attainment of the core concepts in pharmacology.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere00836
    Pages (from-to)1-13
    Number of pages13
    JournalPharmacology Research & Perspectives
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • concept inventory
    • core concept
    • pharmacology education
    • postgraduate education
    • undergraduate education


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