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PT Education Research Network

What is Education Research?

*Education research is the scientific field of study that examines education and learning processes and the human attributes, interactions, organizations, and institutions that shape educational outcomes.

Scholarship in the field seeks to describe, understand, and explain how learning takes place throughout a person’s life and how formal and informal contexts of education affect all forms of learning.

Education research embraces the full spectrum of rigorous methods appropriate to the questions being asked and also drives the development of new tools and methods.


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The Physical Therapy Education Network and its mentorship program is a joint effort of Education Leadership Partnership (ELP) which includes ACAPT, APTA and the Academy of Physical Therapy Education (APTE).  

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What is the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning?

“The systematic study of teaching and learning, using established or validated criteria of scholarship, to understand how teaching (beliefs, behaviors, attitudes, and values) can maximize learning, and/or develop a more accurate understanding of learning, resulting in products that are publicly shared for critique and use by an appropriate community”

From: Potter MK, Dustra E The Relationship between Scholarly Teaching and SoTL: Models, Distinctions, and Clarifications; IJ-SOTL, Vol 5, (1) 2011

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What's Our Research Agenda?

Check out the National Study on Innovation and Excellence in Physical Therapist Education which now serves as the foundation of the Education Leadership Partnership’s research agenda.

The American Physical Therapy Association has had several long-standing policy statements about research. In a recent effort to update policies and positions, the House of Delegates (HOD), APTA’s policy making body, created a Special Committee to review all of its documents. The Special Committee identified that the then existing policies related to research needed to be updated to reflect the current breadth and depth of research that can support improvement in physical therapy practice and education. To that end, they asked the Section on Research to assists in development of new language. Other researchers with expertise in the behavioral sciences also provided input. The new policy was presented to and adopted by the 2019 HOD, and is available at the APTA website http://www.apta.org/Policies/.

A Support Statement that explained the current research environment and supported the motion language was also written by the same group. According to typical HOD procedures support statements are not recorded in the final Minutes of the House, nor are they part of the policy pages at the APTA website. But this support statement has very useful language for all those interested in teaching about and conducting research on physical therapy. Therefore several groups, including the Section on Research, the Academy of Physical Therapy Education, and the American Council on Academic Physical Therapy, have agreed to share RC 63-19 APTA Position on Research at their web sites. 

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