Purpose: Anticipating users’ perceptions of the effects an innovation will have in daily practice prior to implementation may lead to a more optimal innovation process. In this study, the authors aimed to identify the kinds of perceptions that exist concerning the effects of workplace-based assessment (WBA), an innovation that is widely used in medical education, among its users.
Method: In 2012, the authors used Q methodology to ascertain the principal user perceptions of effects of WBA in practice. Participating obstetrics–gynecology residents and attending physicians (including residency program directors) at six hospitals in the Netherlands performed individual Q sorts to rank 36 statements concerning WBA and WBA tools according to their level of agreement. The authors conducted by-person factor analysis to uncover patterns in the rankings of the statements. They used the statistical results and participant comments about their sorts to interpret and describe distinct perceptions.
Results: The analysis of 65 Q sorts (completed by 22 residents and 43 attendings) identified five distinct user perceptions regarding the effects of WBA in practice, which the authors labeled enthusiasm, compliance, effort, neutrality, and skepticism. These perceptions were characterized by differences in views on three main issues: the intended goals of the innovation, its applicability (ease of applying it to practice), and its actual impact.
Conclusions: User perceptions of the effects of innovations in medical education can be typified and should be anticipated. This study’s insights into five principal user perceptions can support the design and implementation of innovations in medical education.