Funding & Resources for Education Scholarship
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Establishing your Question and Articulating your Objectives
These resources are meant to help you clearly define your idea, possibly the most important step of your project. Ideas change and evolve over time and these resources will help guide you through this process.
First, you will need to formulate your question and better identify the perceived educational gap. Are you trying to
- address a perceived problem?
- examine a new or old program?
- create a new intervention, material, product or resource that fulfills a specific educational purpose? (e.g. an app, web-based materials, curriculum units or teaching modules, an evaluation framework, or a new model by which to learn a skill)
- test a new/old idea, tool, curriculum, evaluation techniques?
- review the literature with a systematic review/meta-analysis?
Here are some tips to help you formulate your question (from Cook, D.A. (2010). Getting started in medical education scholarship. Keio J Med. 59(3):96-103.)
- Select a focus: What is your idea? What is the source of your idea?
- Ensure a passion for your project's importance: Why do you want to study this?
- Describe the rationale or need or gap you want to explore: What is the need? How will your project build on and contribute to what is known and to the larger field? What does the literature say?
- Create an explicit statement of purpose (Goal): What do you hope to accomplish? What impact do you envision?
- Create realistic and achievable objectives. You should consider:
- Is the question answerable?
- Time: Can this be accomplished in the given time period? Will the amount of data you intend to collect be overwhelming and difficult to analyze in the given time? What do you really need to know? You need to leave time for data analysis and consideration of the meaning of the information collected
- Expertise and resources: Can this be accomplished with the given expertise and resources? Who will you collaborate with?
- Politics: Who has a vested interest in the outcome (stakeholders)?
Once you have identified the gap, developed a good question and determined the objectives of your study, you can move on to determining how best to close that gap.
Publications to help you formulate your question
Coverdale, J. H., Roberts, L. W., Balon, R., & Beresin, E. V. (2013). Writing for academia: Getting your research into print: AMEE guide no. 74. Medical Teacher, 35(2), e926-34.
Morrison, J. (2002). Developing research questions in medical education: The science and the art. Medical Education, 36(7), 596-597.
You will find funding opportunities below offered by DFCM, the Faculty of Medicine, and external organizations. We also suggest contacting your hospital site to discuss funding opportunities and the possibility of protected research time.
The Faculty of Medicine’s Research Office also offers information about funding and award opportunities. Of particular interest are the What’s New In Research Funding webpage and listserv providing updated funding information on a regular basis, and the list of available prizes and awards throughout the University. The Research Office also provides useful resources on grant writing and regularly runs workshops on this subject.
Pivot is a comprehensive international funding database to which the University of Toronto subscribes on behalf of faculty. The database provides you with a curated list of funding opportunities as based on your departmental appointments, research interests, publication and granting history, and other profile information.
Pivot is a multi-functional website that allows you to:
- receive weekly email notifications of new and updated funding opportunities, as based on profile information
- conduct and save advanced funding searches which can include Canadian and international funding opportunities
- share funding opportunities with colleagues
This helpful video explains how you can claim your Pivot profile. Please note that you will require access to your utoronto.ca email address in order to register for Pivot and claim your profile. If you do not know or can't access your utoronto.ca email address, please visit the Help Desk, First Floor, Robarts Library; or call 416-978-HELP (4357); or email email@example.com.
DFCM faculty members have access to one-on-one or group training workshops on the use of Pivot, by request. To arrange a workshop, please contact the DFCM Research Administrator.
Applying for Funding
The Research Program offers voluntary internal peer review of research grant applications to help improve grant writing skills and the overall success rates of peer-reviewed grant applications. In order to submit a grant application for internal peer review, you must be a DFCM faculty member, the project PI, and not have an internal peer review process available to you at your primary research site.
The Faculty of Medicine offers research proposal support including writing and editing support; ensuring applications clearly demonstrate the impact of the research; reorganizing for most effective content and structure; clarification of meaning and improvement of readability; correction of grammar, usage, spelling, and punctuation; and ensuring proposals adhere to agency formatting guidelines.
University of Toronto Grant Applications
If you are applying for a grant through the University of Toronto, you may need to complete a My Research (MR) application. The Research Program requires you to submit your grant proposal for review along with a DFCM Resource Implication Form July 2016.docx (73.52 KB) prior to submitting your MR application. Please submit all grant applications to the DFCM Research Program.
If your grant application requires the signature of the Chair, please submit your grant proposal for review along with a DFCM Resource Implication Form prior to submitting your MR application.
If you are requesting an expense reimbursement from the University of Toronto for purchases made from your research funding, you must complete all steps outlined by University of Toronto Financial Services as explained in How to Claim an Expense Reimbursement.
If your expense reimbursement involves travel, please additionally complete the Research Travel Validation Form.docx, and ensure that you explicitly relate your travel to your research funding.
My Research On-Line (MROL) allows faculty members who have funds administered through the University of Toronto to track spending and view various financial reports. Contact info is on the site for assistance with setting up your account firstname.lastname@example.org.
"The Art of the Possible" Education Scholarship Grants are seed grants in support of proposed projects that will enhance education scholarship within the following DFCM Programs/Division: Undergraduate Education, Postgraduate Education, Graduate Studies, Professional Development, Global Health and Emergency Medicine. Funded projects are intended to be in line with Program/Division priorities.
Faculty Development Fund is awarded twice annually to support professional development by DFCM faculty. Support will be considered for (but not necessarily restricted to): publication of scholarly papers (mini-sabbaticals), and travel (and related expenses) to conferences to present scholarly work (conference registration fees not funded).
Professional Development Program Development Fund provides two awards annually of $5000 - one each for faculty development (FD) and continuing medical education (CME) - to support the creation of new educational programs. The initial audience for such programs would be DFCM faculty in their roles as clinicians and teachers.
Tuition Support for Faculty to support faculty members undertaking further training at a graduate studies level or in one of our Clinical Research/Teacher CE level certificate programs.
Dr. Harrison Waddington Fellowship in Family and Community Medicine is intended to support a member of the DFCM who is pursuing a University of Toronto graduate degree to pursue an area of education scholarship.
Research Publication Fee Award is awarded annually to support a DFCM faculty member who has had a peer-reviewed research article accepted for publication.
Research Travel Fund is awarded twice annually to support DFCM faculty to travel to and attend national and international scientific conferences to present peer-reviewed research.
QI Publication Funding is awarded annually to help support DFCM faculty who have had peer-reviewed QI articles accepted for publication.
Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto Opportunities
The Faculty of Medicine Education Development Fund is a seed fund designed to encourage faculty who are newly engaged in educational scholarship to further their career development. Funding has traditionally been awarded to initiatives that focus on the design, implementation and evaluation of courses, programs and curricula including faculty development, continuing education and clinical learning initiatives. Applicants may pursue an Educational Innovation and Development project or an Education Research project. This fund requires matching funds from the DFCM. An internal competition is run every Fall/Winter for this funding.
The Continuing Professional Development David Fear Fellowship is a $2,000 fellowship award to a Faculty of Medicine faculty member to attend an educational leadership course in continuing education and professional development, visit another CPD department, or complete an innovative educational program or grant.
The Comprehensive Research Experience for Medical Students (CREMS) from the Faculty of Medicine's Undergraduate Education Program offers funding to support a summer or in-term medical student and allows interested medical students to gain extracurricular research experiences in various structured programs without interrupting their medical studies. For those faculty members requiring matching funds, the DFCM runs an internal competition.
The University of Toronto Instructional Technology Innovation Fund is a seed fund designed to catalyze initiatives that immediately and directly impact University of Toronto education and teaching programs through innovation and development. The ITIF is focused specifically on the practical applications of technology in design, implementation, evaluation, curriculum renewal, faculty development, or continuing education initiatives that enrich learning. There are two funding streams: 1. Traditional Stream (same as previous years): awards of up to $15,000, matching funds required (the DFCM runs an internal competition for these matching funds, please contact the Office of Education Scholarship for details), and 2. Small Scale Seed Funding Stream (NEW): awards of up to $2,000, no matching funds required.
Other Funding Opportunities
The AMS Phoenix Project: A Call to Caring is focused on making a positive and lasting difference in how health professionals develop and sustain their abilities to provide humane, compassionate, person-centred care. The project offers both a Fellowship and grant opportunities.
CAME Wooster Family Grant in Medical Education is meant to support new and innovative projects in medical education that are not part of a larger, formalized and funded education research program. Applicants must be CAME members. Up to $10,000 per project.
The Canadian Association of Emergency Physician's (CAEP) Research Grant acknowledges that research is important in all areas of emergency medicine. Physicians, fellows, and residents working in diverse academic, non-academic, community, and rural settings are encouraged to submit Research Grant Proposals. The Principal Investigator (PI) and Supervisor (for Residents and Fellows only) must be current CAEP members.
The CFPC Janus Research Grants support academic and community-based family physician CFPC members in good standing to carry out research projects that meet the changing needs of their patients and communities in Canada. Resident or student research projects are not eligible.
- The CFPC Janus Research Grant Training Level 1 is intended to build family medicine research capacity. They will support academic and community-based family physicians in active practice who are CFPC members in good standing active practice and with minimal research experience to work with a research mentor to develop the research grant proposal.
- The CFPC Janus Research Grant Training Level 2 is intended to build family medicine research capacity. They will support family medicine researchers at an early stage of their research career. Applicants for this training grant must be eligible to participate in a CFPC-supported Grant Generating Program (GGP), which provides family medicine researchers with the skills they need to successfully develop and submit large-scale proposals for research funding.
The Medical Council of Canada (MCC) Research in Clinical Assessment grant is intended to support innovations in the assessment of clinical competence or performance of students, postgraduate trainees or practitioners. Priority will be given to proposals that show promise in contributing to the knowledge and understanding of measurement in clinical assessment and to clinical program evaluation methods for medical education. The proposal must focus on research, not development, in the assessment of performance or clinical assessment.
The Phil R. Manning Research Award in Continuing Medical Education from The Society for Academic Continuing Medical Education (SACME) is intended to support original research related to physician lifelong learning within the domain of assessment and/or competency-based CME/CPD.
The PSI Foundation has a number of opportunities available, including education and health research grants, a new investigator grant, and an education fellowship for practicing physicians.
The Royal College Medical Education Grant is intended to support quality research in Canada that will advance the field of postgraduate medical education or continuing professional development. Applicants must be involved in teaching and/or medical education research in Canada. Applications may be individual or joint, involving one or more departments, disciplines, or faculties of medicine. It is not necessary to be a Fellow of the Royal College or a physician; however, a Fellow of the Royal College must contribute to the research project.
The Spencer Foundation, although largely US-based has some grants open to Canadian applicants. The Foundation is committed to supporting high-quality investigation of education through its research programs and to strengthening and renewing the educational research community through its fellowship and training programs and related activities.
The Stemmler Medical Education Research Fund is to provide support for research or development of innovative assessment approaches that will enhance the evaluation of those preparing to, or continuing to, practice medicine.
Tri-council funding Information on CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC funding can be found on the University of Toronto Research and Innovation website.
Developing your Plan
- What theoretical framework (methodology) are you considering? Bioscience? Learning Theory? Sociocultural theory?
- What methods (the arrangement of steps for data collection) will best answer your question and help you meet your objectives? Qualitative? Quantitative? Mixed Methods?
- Do you need to seek ethics approval?
- Data collection considerations
- What do you want to collect?
- How do you intend to collect the information?
- What materials need to be prepared or created?
- What are the administrative requirements and who is going to be responsible for each one? Paper preparation, room bookings, food, recording materials, etc.
- Where and when is the data collection going to take place?
- How much time will data collection take?
- How will the data be catalogued?
- Data analysis considerations
- Who is going to analyze the data?
- How will the data be analyzed?
- How much time do I need to allocate for data analysis?
- Creation of a realistic timeline for all of the tasks that need to be accomplished
Understanding the existing literature is crucial to the development of your education scholarship question.
- Learn about workshops for individuals and groups offered by the DFCM library and at affiliated hospital sites.
- Access a guide produced by The University of Toronto Writing Centre on conducting literature reviews.
- Compare popular reference management and citation software on this comparison chart by The University of Toronto Library.
Publications to help you in the development stage
For a brief introduction to the spectrum of methodologies, please see the following article:
- Turner T, Balmer D, Coverdale J. (June 2013). Methodologies and study designs relevant to medical education research. lnt Rev Psychiatry. 2013 Jun; 25(3):301-10. doi: 10.3109/09540261.2013.790310
Useful articles related to qualitative research include:
- Reeves, S., Albert, M., Kuper, A., Hodges, BD. Qualitative Research: Why Use Theories in Qualitative Research. BMJ: British Medical Journal, Vol. 337, No. 7670 (Sep. 13, 2008), pp. 631-634
- Kuper, A., Reeves, S., Levinson W. An introduction to reading and appraising qualitative research. BMJ 2008;337:a288. doi: 10.1136/bmj.a288.
For more information about research design, please see the following book:
- Creswell, J. (2013). Research Design- Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. SAGE Publications, Inc. University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Submitting a Research Ethics Board Application
The standards by which the University of Toronto Research Ethics Board (REB) evaluates submissions are informed by the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS2) . If you are unfamiliar with research ethics, the Council offers an excellent, online introductory course on research ethics. It consists of eight modules that focus on generalizable principles applicable to all research.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. When do I require an REB and where do I submit my application?
You will require University of Toronto REB approval if you are conducting research involving humans under the auspices of the University of Toronto.
Toronto Academic Health Sciences Network (TAHSN) hospitals have their own REBs, and researchers should submit REB applications to their respective hospital REB for review. Researchers should also submit REB applications to the University of Toronto if recruitment, intervention, or interaction with human participants will take place on campus.
For TAHSN-based projects where the University of Toronto plays a peripheral role (administration of funds, graduate student involvement, and/or analysis or storage of personal data or biological samples), an Administrative Review must be completed.
Determining What Requires Approval
Refer to TCPS2 Article 2.5 for types of activities that are recused from REB approval. For example, quality assurance (QA) and quality improvement (QI) projects do not necessarily require REB approval. If the intent of the QA/QI project is internal use for assessment, management, or improvement purposes, then you may not require REB approval; however, if the intent is research (e.g., using a program evaluation as a generalizable case for the purpose of extending knowledge to other similar programs), then you may require REB approval.
Intent to publish and the use of rigorous data collection/analysis methods are not indicative of whether a project requires REB approval. Both research and QA/QI can be published, and both can use similar methodologies. Note that if data are collected for the purposes of QA/QI, and later used for research purposes, it is considered secondary use of data and may necessitate REB approval. to help determine if your project requires REB approval. To determine whether your education scholarship project requires REB review, complete and submit the QA-QI Research Checklist.doc to the Research Ethics Manager, Health Sciences.
2. Which REB form do I have to complete?
Which University of Toronto REB submission form you require depends on your project and your role. The most commonly used forms are:
- New Application form for Faculty Researchers (if you are the PI on the project),
- New Application form for Supervised and Sponsored Research (if the PI is a supervised student and the supervisor is a faculty member)
- Cover Sheet for TAHSN-approved applications for Administrative Reviews
3. Who is allowed to submit an application to the University of Toronto REB as a PI or supervisor?
PIs and supervisors must be University of Toronto faculty members with research privileges. Research privileges authorize the PI/supervisor to submit REBs, and they are outlined in your employment letter with the University of Toronto. Please refer to your employment letter for further information.
4. How do I obtain the Chair’s signature for my REB submission?
All REB applications by DFCM faculty, staff and students require the signature of the Chair. All REB applications that pertain to education scholarship must first be submitted, along with relevant appendices (if applicable), and completed DFCM Resource Implication Form for REB Submissions to the Office of Education Scholarship for review. Once your REB application package is signed by the Chair, it will be returned to you, and it is then your responsibility to submit it to the University of Toronto REB.
Your submission to the University of Toronto REB has separate requirements. Please visit the Research and Innovation site for full instructions on their submission requirements and process.
5. What are the timelines for my REB submission?
The DFCM internal review of your REB application will take a maximum of two weeks. Once you have made necessary changes to your application, as suggested by the Office of Education Scholarship, and the Chair has signed your application package, you can submit it to the University of Toronto REB.
Applications for delegated review: the deadline for delegated review is every Monday (or first business day of the week) by 4 pm. You can expect to receive a response from the REB within 4-5 weeks.
Applications for full board review: the full board usually meets on a monthly basis. Considering the schedule of meeting dates and corresponding due dates, investigators are advised to submit well in advance of their anticipated start date.
6. What if I need to make a change to my approved REB protocol?
Minor variations to protocols are acceptable without the need for submission of an amendment. These changes should be addressed in the annual renewal or study completion form.
Any other proposed changes to an approved REB protocol require submission of an Amendment Request (Word doc). An amendment is any change to the study that affects scholarly intent, study design, or human participant protection. Any change to the protocol that alters the risk to participants, regardless of whether that change increases or decreases risk, requires an amendment.
Data collection and Analysis
As part of the research planning process, it is important that your data collection tool and analysis plan align with the research question.
Tools for Research Data Collection and Analysis
Qualtrics Insight is a secure, user-friendly, feature-rich, web-based survey tool which allows users to build, distribute, and analyze online surveys and online tests; collaborate in real-time; and export data in multiple formats. All DFCM faculty, students, and staff have free access to a Qualtrics Insight user license – please use the online request form. Users seeking training are encouraged to attend the Live Training Webinars and refer to the Welcome to the New Qualtrics resources.
The Licensed Software Office at the University of Toronto has agreements in place for UofT students, faculty and staff to purchase software such as SPSS and SAS. For other software, including NVivo, you may need to purchase directly from the vendor.
Education ScholarshipTraining Opportunities
Education Scholarship Training Opportunities at the DFCM
- Course: Family Medicine and Primary Care in the Global Health Context
- Degree Program: Master of Public Health, Family Medicine
Education Scholarship Training Opportunities Outside DFCM
- The Wilson Centre provides fellowships, Wilson Centre Research Rounds and hosts a series of intensive workshops on education research, qualitative research, presentation skills and more.
- Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation (CTSI) Resources for teaching support, educational technology, and research on teaching.
- OISE - MEd in higher education and MEd specializing in health professional education
- CAME - Principles of assessment for the continuum of clinical competence PAME-PACCC
- Centre for Ambulatory Care Education (CACE) Fellowship Program
- Centre for Faculty Development (CFD) A partnership between the University of Toronto and St. Michael’s Hospital, with resources available for teaching & education, career development, academic leadership, and research & evaluation.
- The CFD Education Scholars Program is a longitudinal leadership development program for health professional educators that fosters academic excellence, creativity and scholarly productivity in education.
- CFD Best Practice in Education Rounds (BPER) Accredited rounds open to all that are interested. Pre-registration is not required. Video-cast to various GTA locations, and webcast.
- Centre for Health Education Scholarship (CHES) Offers Clinical Educator Fellowship Program, visiting scholar opportunities.
Disseminating your Work
It is important that research findings be shared with peers and colleagues in order to advance academic family medicine. The mission of the DFCM begins “We teach, create and disseminate knowledge in primary care, advancing the discipline of family medicine …”. The DFCM offers numerous supports to you in disseminating your work.
Conferences & Workshops
The DFCM events listings on our home page display major academic conferences that may be of interest to researchers. The DFCM also hosts an annual conference for the community which often serves as a valuable first step in disseminating your research in poster or workshop format.
DFCM City Wide Research Rounds are an accredited, bi-monthly, two-hour interactive event focusing on primary care research and research practices. The events are open to everyone to attend, and those interested in presenting are encouraged to contact the Research Program. Guest speakers will focus on research results, methodologies, and techniques; the Research In Progress discussion will highlight new and exciting research. You will have the opportunity to network, socialize, and earn Mainpro credits.
Check here for a list of conferences of interest to education scholars.
Jane (Journal/Author Name Estimator) is an online resource that helps you find the most appropriate journal for your work. Just enter your title and/or abstract, and Jane will compare your document to millions of documents in Medline to find the best matching journals, authors or articles.
The DFCM offers a number of awards for all DFCM Faculty in support of research dissemination, including:
Writing and Presentation Support
Some teaching sites have writing groups for researchers. Please consult with your directors or chiefs to connect you with these groups.
The Centre for Faculty Development hosts workshops on dissemination and writing.
The Wilson Centre offers intensive workshops such as the "Say Something" two-day workshop on writing and giving outstanding presentations.
CERI Master Class on Writing Research for Publication - This 4-day master class on writing research for publication is offered jointly by the Centre for Education Research & Innovation and Continuing Professional Development, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry.
The Writer's Craft Dr. Lorelei Lingard produces a helpful ongoing series in Perspectives on Medical Education called "The Writer's Craft." It focuses on tips and techniques to give your writing energy, clarity and persuasiveness.
JGME Qualitative Rip-Out Series
Building an Education Scholarship Community
Celebration of Education Scholarship
"Celebration of Education Scholarship" events promote education scholarship understanding, capacity and support among DFCM faculty. Investigators are given the opportunity to present and receive feedback on works in progress, increase their knowledge about scholarship theory and methodology, and learn about other activities within the education scholarship community. Celebrating Education Scholarship events are announced on the OES website and DFCM listserv. Our next event is scheduled for October 31, 2017.
The Journal Club is a standing component of the Celebration of Education Scholarship events. Below is a list of articles we have discussed at past meetings. If you would like to suggest an article for Journal Club, please email the Office of Education Scholarship.
- Wear D, Zarconi J, Kumagai A, Cole-Kelly K. Slow medical education. Academic Medicine. 2015 Mar 1;90(3):289-93. Read this article
- Ginsburg S, Regehr G, Lingard L, Eva KW. Reading between the lines: faculty interpretations of narrative evaluation comments. Medical education. 2015 Mar 1;49(3):296-306. Read this article
- Telio S, Ajjawi R, Regehr G. The “educational alliance” as a framework for reconceptualizing feedback in medical education. Academic Medicine. 2015 May 1;90(5):609-14. Read this article
- McLeod P, Steinert Y, Boudreau D, Snell L, Wiseman J. Twelve tips for conducting a medical education journal club. Medical teacher. 2010 Jan 1;32(5):368-70. Read this article