PhD Studentship 2014

PhD Studentship (full-time/part-time, 3-5 years)

Open to applications from UK/EU citizens only, due to funding restrictions

“Selecting multisource feedback assessors in clinical teams: a social network analysis”: PUPSMD-0016R1

The Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine & Dentistry (PU-PSMD) are seeking to attract PhD candidates of outstanding ability to join their exciting and rapidly expanding programme of
internationally-rated research.
As part of The Collaboration for the Advancement of Medical Education Research & Assessment
(CAMERA), a leading centre for medical education research, within PU-PSMD, this National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funded PhD Studentship invites applications from suitably qualified graduates with a degree (2:1 or above) in sociology or a relevant health care subject. Applicants should have an interest in the application and use of social network analysis, but a prior familiarity with this area is not required.

In the UK there has been an almost wholesale acceptance of Multisource Feedback (MSF) as a valid
instrument with which to assess doctors by receiving feedback from colleagues, and patients. However
there are a number of important assumptions in MSF that so far have been left unchallenged. These
include: the assumption that the ‘index’ doctor is central in their network of colleagues, supported by
relationships that are reciprocal, balanced (in terms of power relations) and 1st degree (individuals know each other at first hand, not by reputation). In support of these concepts MSF has traditionally been implemented by asking the index doctor to nominate their own raters. Archer & McAvoy have published data that raises questions about the suitability of the self-selection of assessors by practitioners.

This NIHR funded PhD studentship will use mixed methodologies to develop a method of measuring
social interactions and connections including social network analysis (SNA) to explore and quantify
relationships in clinical teams as part of a MSF process. This will help to better understand MSF in
terms of the assessor selection within teams, help to understand why those chosen by a third party are
such different people with different views, and to formulate new guidance for MSF assessor selection.
This is an exciting opportunity to join a dynamic interdisciplinary team developing mixed methods
approaches to aspects of training and career development in clinical medicine. Familiarity with
techniques of social network analysis will be acquired as an integral part of the PhD training and the
successful applicant will utilise these techniques in the research.

Closing date for applications: 15th January 2014, 12:00 Noon Start date: April 2014
To Apply for this studentship please download an application form from

and return it with a statement outlining your reasons for wanting to pursue this course and details of any
other achievements or experience that will support your application. Also send copies of your
qualifications, transcripts, two academic references and c.v. to:

Bernice Wilmshurst, Senior Administrator (Research Degrees), Plymouth University Peninsula Schools
of Medicine & Dentistry, The John Bull Building, Tamar Science Park , Plymouth PL6 8BU
Telephone (01752)437471

For an informal discussion about the project, please contact: Dr Julian Archer (
Funding Notes: The stipend will be £13,726 (based on full time 13/14 rate). Tuition fees will be paid at the home/EU rate.
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