Conducting educational research in medical schools is challenging partly
because interventional controlled research designs are difficult to apply.
In addition, strict accreditation requirements and student/faculty concerns
about educational inequality reduce the flexibility needed to plan and execute
educational experiments. Consequently, there is a paucity of rigorous and
generalizable educational research to provide an evidence-guided foundation
to support educational effectiveness. "Educational epidemiology," ie, the
application across the physician education continuum of observational designs
(eg, cross-sectional, longitudinal, cohort, and case-control studies) and
randomized experimental designs (eg, randomized controlled trials, randomized
crossover designs), could revolutionize the conduct of research in medical
education. Furthermore, the creation of a comprehensive national network of
educational epidemiologists could enhance collaboration and the development
of a strong educational research foundation.