AAMC MERC

Patient in clinic

Develop your understanding of the purposes and processes of medical education research through the AAMC Medical Education Research Certificate (MERC) program.

MERC prepares you to:

  • Become an informed consumer of medical education literature.
  • Become an effective collaborator in medical education research.

The program is open to all faculty, and is geared for those with a background in medical education but less experience in conducting educational research.

Each 3-hour workshop focuses on a key skill or area in educational research, and emphasizes opportunities for hands-on activities and active participation.

What Participants Say

The MERC program is an excellent overview of essential modern clinical education concepts, and I would recommend this series of workshops to any clinical faculty member, regardless of your field. This program prepares you for conducting your own educational research. The structure of the course components were well-organized and comfortable to attend, allowing one to network with other clinical faculty at U-M and be enlightened by your own experiences in this course and through sharing experiences with others.

AAMC Certificate

Faculty may enroll in any number of workshops in the series. However, you must complete all six workshops to qualify for the AAMC certificate. You'll apply through AAMC to receive your certificate. The cost is $100. See the MERC website →

Future Workshop Dates To Be Determined

Workshop Descriptions

Registration is required for all MERC workshops. See each workshop description for details.

Formulating Research Questions and Designing Studies

In this workshop, participants will brainstorm research ideas, write, and refine a measurable research question. They will discuss when IRB approval is required for their study. The basics of research design will be discussed and applied to their selected research question. Participants will be able to:

  • Write a FINER (feasible, interesting, novel, ethical, relevant) educational research question.
  • Specify an educational research area of interest.
  • Evaluate whether they need IRB approval for their study.
  • Select the correct design for their research question.

Searching and Evaluating the Medical Education Literature

This workshop is intended for medical educators and clinician educators who want to learn how to effectively search the published medical education literature and to evaluate the value of those searches. After participating in this workshop, learners will be able to:

  • Formulate an effective approach to searching the medical education literature.
  • Conduct a search using relevant MeSH headings.
  • Communicate effectively with a research librarian.
  • Evaluate the search results using specific review criteria.

Questionnaire Design and Survey Research

This workshop will provide some basic principles in questionnaire/survey design and give workshop participants an opportunity for hands-on experience designing a questionnaire. Following participating in this workshop, learners will be able to:

  • Design a blueprint for a survey/questionnaire appropriate to their own application.
  • Construct and edit questions to avoid common problems in wording and framing.
  • Select an appropriate response format from a menu of alternatives.
  • Design the overall format of the survey/questionnaire to facilitate data management and analysis.

Introduction to Qualitative Data Collection Methods

This workshop is intended for physicians in medical education, as well as faculty involved in student affairs, who wish to develop perspectives and skills for collecting qualitative data, such as data from focus group discussions, interviews, observation field notes, and responses to open-ended questions — used in admissions processes, program development, curriculum evaluation, needs assessments, performance evaluation, and various scholarship and research applications.

After participating in this workshop, learners will be able to:

  • Demonstrate applied knowledge of the appropriate selection, use, and standards for rigor of some common methods for collection of qualitative data.
  • Generate research questions appropriate for qualitative studies and choose appropriate data collection methods.
  • Demonstrate applied knowledge of approaches to achieve rigor in the design of qualitative studies and collection of qualitative data.
  • Demonstrate essential skills required for conducting focus groups.

Program Evaluation and Evaluating Research

This workshop introduces participants to fundamental principles of educational program evaluation, and provides participants with a strategy for developing an evaluation plan. After participating in this workshop, learners will be able to:

  • Describe program evaluation and its purposes.
  • Identify barriers to program evaluation.
  • Identify models used in evaluation.
  • Describe the steps of an evaluation.
  • Develop an evaluation plan.

Scholarly Writing: Publishing Medical Education Research

In this session, the skills of scholarly writing will be explored through the lens of analyzing a manuscript that was accepted for publication. The participants will examine review criteria that are used by healthcare education journals and apply them to a sample manuscript. In discussing scholarly writing the participants will make a decision about the type of feedback they would give to the authors of the sample paper. At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Identify the components of a scholarly publication.
  • Discuss how to frame a problem statement.
  • Identify an effective Research Question.
  • Discuss whether the Design/method is appropriate to the question.
  • Discuss whether the authors have applied the best data collection methods to the appropriate sample.
  • Understand the Results section and how to present results in a clear manner.