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A Mixed-Methods Investigation Into General Dental Practitioners' Perceptions of the Influence of Postgraduate Dental Education on Dental Practice

By: Published: 2017 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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The role of a long-term postgraduate study in dentistry has not been studied. There is sufficient evidence to show both the success and limitations of short courses, and following the introduction of mandatory continuing professional development, these courses have become very popular. Based on sound pedagogical principles, the restorative dental practice program was seen as an ideal opportunity to look at a self-selected group of general dental practitioners embarking on a 5-year master’s program. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected, organized, analyzed, and interpreted by the researcher. A total of 144 participants in two cohorts started the study. The study involved questionnaires, focus group discussions, and personal interviews as the main methods of data collection, so the university ethics committee deemed that ethics approval was not necessary. Preliminary results have shown a significant influence on the confidence, self-efficacy, and perceived impact on clinical practice. All the participants report changes in their techniques and materials used, quoting that the improved knowledge and skills that they have gained have helped them to work in a much more evidence-based approach, with greater confidence and job satisfaction. The long-term nature of the program is thought to be a positive aspect of this type of postgraduate learning. The opportunity to discuss cases with peers, to question senior colleagues, to reflect on new skills learned and practiced, and to be able to continually reinforce the message are all seen as advantageous.

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