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Free Content Using Focus Groups to Assess Presentation Methods in a Research Seminar

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The purpose of this inquiry was to examine preferences between presentation methods among graduate students enrolled in a research seminar course. Participants consisted of 34 second year students enrolled in the Master of Science degree program in physical therapy in the College of Health Professions at the Medical University of South Carolina. All were required to present a published research article on the general topic of exercise in elderly individuals. However, before the student presentations took place, the instructor presented two different published research papers, both of which were done in sequential time segments during a single class period. For Time Segment 1, the instructor/author used a formal, "lecture," or "platform" type presentation, embellished by power point slides with textual information and graphs. For Time Segment 2, the instructor conducted an informal discussion of the background, methods, and findings of the research paper. After the presentations were completed, students were assigned to focus groups for the purpose of providing verbal and written feedback. Examination of the findings using content analysis revealed a variety of opinions regarding presentation techniques, but showed a general preference for the method employed in Time Segment 1. Among the reasons cited were the structure, the visual aids, and past familiarity and comfort with formal, "lecture" type presentations. Also noted was the predominant view that presenter style was a major factor in judging effectiveness. These findings merit further exploration of presentation styles and teaching methodologies for augmenting teaching effectiveness and enhancing the scholarship of teaching.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-12-01

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  • The Journal of Allied Health is the official publication of the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions (ASAHP). The Journal is the only interdisciplinary allied health periodical, publishing scholarly works related to research and development, feature articles, research abstracts and book reviews. Readers of the Journal comprise allied health leaders, educators, faculty and students.
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