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Bauer, Elisabeth ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4078-0999; Fischer, Frank; Kiesewetter, Jan ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8165-402X; Shaffer, David Williamson; Fischer, Martin R.; Zottmann, Jan M. ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3887-1181 and Sailer, Michael (20. October 2020): Diagnostic Activities and Diagnostic Practices in Medical Education and Teacher Education. An Interdisciplinary Comparison. In: Frontiers in Psychology, Vol. 11, 562665: pp. 1-9 [PDF, 1MB]


In this article, we investigate diagnostic activities and diagnostic practices in medical education and teacher education. Previous studies have tended to focus on comparing knowledge between disciplines, but such an approach is complicated due to the content specificity of knowledge. We compared 142 learners from medical education and 122 learners from teacher education who were asked to (a) diagnose eight simulated cases from their respective discipline in a simulation-based learning environment and (b) write a justificatory report for each simulated case. We coded all justificatory reports regarding four diagnostic activities: generating hypotheses, generating evidence, evaluating evidence, and drawing conclusions. Moreover, using the method of Epistemic Network Analysis, we operationalized diagnostic practices as the relative frequencies of co-occurring diagnostic activities. We found significant differences between learners from medical education and teacher education with respect to both their diagnostic activities and diagnostic practices. Learners from medical education put relatively more emphasis on generating hypotheses and drawing conclusions, therefore applying a more hypothesis-driven approach. By contrast, learners in teacher education had a stronger focus on generating and evaluating evidence, indicating a more data-driven approach. The results may be explained by different epistemic ideals and standards taught in higher education. Further research on the issue of epistemic ideals and standards in diagnosing is needed. Moreover, we recommend that educators think beyond individuals’ knowledge and implement measures to systematically teach and increase the awareness of disciplinary standards.

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