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Year : 2007  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 17

IN THE NEWS! An opinion - Understanding the Readers' Perspective

Maastricht University, Thailand

Date of Web Publication25-Jan-2013

Correspondence Address:
J van Dalen
Maastricht University
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

How to cite this article:
van Dalen J. IN THE NEWS! An opinion - Understanding the Readers' Perspective. Educ Health 2007;20:17

How to cite this URL:
van Dalen J. IN THE NEWS! An opinion - Understanding the Readers' Perspective. Educ Health [serial online] 2007 [cited 2021 May 16];20:17. Available from:

As editing staff of a professional journal it is quite difficult to know what topics are on our readers' minds. What are the issues that you, our readers, are struggling with in your health care professions?

The journal's content is in line with The Network: Towards Unity for Health's mission and we judge submitted manuscripts accordingly. However, submitted manuscripts rather reflect the authors' preferences. The topics of the manuscripts we receive are clearly influenced by the authors' desire to share their findings, rather than by curiosity of the readers. Authors should be able to get some understanding of the relevance of their topics. In this way, they will be able to select relevant issues for their papers and to word their manuscripts in such a way that the relevant professional issues are addressed.

Now that Education for Health has gone fully on-line, it provides us with a good opportunity to 'get a feel' for what is on the minds of our readers. Until now the journal has been electronically available only as a complement to the hard-copy paper.

Recently, Academic Medicine published the top 25 of most frequently downloaded articles between September 2005 and September 2006, based on the total number of times Academic Medicine Online users downloaded the full text PDFs of their published articles (Anonymous, 2007). Their most frequently downloaded article addresses medical students' perceptions and use of derogatory and cynical humor in clinical settings (Wear et al., 2006).

Education for Health's former publisher, Taylor & Francis, has kindly provided us with data about downloads of articles from our journal between July 2005 and July 2006. The following manuscripts are in the top ten of most frequently downloaded articles: First graduates' perceptions on a problem-based and task-based learning curriculum (Ozan et al., 2005); Students, stress and coping strategies (Shaikh et al., 2004); and Students' perceptions of educational environment (Mayya & Roff, 2004).

This selection reflects a big issue that seems to be on our readers' minds. It is difficult to select another topic from these two lists that is as well represented. The issue seems to be: what are we doing to our health professions students? What do they experience during their training, what are the side-effects of the hidden curriculum, how do they change during the curriculum and how do they try to cope?

Moreover, we seem to complement our interest in quantitative research with the more qualitative approaches. We try to understand what is happening in our students' heads and hearts. This growing interest in qualitative research is also demonstrated by the popularity of two articles of our series addressing qualitative methodology (Frankel & Devers, 2000a; 2000b), both in the top ten of most downloaded articles since 2000.

We do not want to recommend that our authors only submit articles about popular topics. We strongly advise them to continue to contribute their original thoughts and creative studies. We do recommend however that authors will also pay tribute to the readers' questions. Why should we, as readers, want to read their paper? Which answers does it give us? Does it increase our insight? Does it provide us with lessons learned in attempts to solve problems similar to ours? Does it address issues that are also relevant to readers from other parts of the world? In the words of one of our former editors: does their paper pass the 'so what?-test'?

We hope to provide you with some more insight into the readers' appreciation of our publications. We are confident that the most recent development of electronic availability will make it easier to access that information.

Jan van Dalen

Associate Editor

Education for Health


Anonymous. (2007). Most frequently downloaded articles, September 2005-September 2006. Academic Medicine 82 (1): 5.

Frankel, R. M. & Devers, K. (2000a). Qualitative Research: a consumer's guide. Education for health 13 (1) : 113-124.

Frankel, R. M. & Devers, K.J. (2000b). Study design in Qualitative Research -1: developing questions and assessing resource needs. Education for health 13 (2) : 251-262.

Mayya, S.S. & Roff, S. (2004). Students' perceptions of educational environment: a comparison of academic achievers and underachievers at Kasturba medical college, India. Education for Health, 17 (3): 280-291.

Ozan, S., Karademir, S., Gursel, Y., Tasikiran, H.C. & Musal, B. (2005). First graduates' perceptions on a problem-based and a task-based learning curriculum. Education for Health, 18 (2): 256-271.

Shaikh, B.T., Kahloon, A., Kazmi, M., Khalid, H., Nawaz, K., Khan, N.A. & Khan, S. (2004). Students, stress and coping strategies: a case of Pakistani medical school. Education for Health, 17 (3): 346-353.

Wear, D., Aultman J. M., Varley J. D. & Zarconi, J. (2006). Making fun of patients: Medical students' perceptions and use of derogatory and cynical humor in clinical settings. Academic Medicine, 81: 454-462.


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