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Good Medical Practice: what are we trying to say? Textual analysis using tag clouds

Gill, D; Griffin, A; (2010) Good Medical Practice: what are we trying to say? Textual analysis using tag clouds. MED EDUC , 44 (3) 316 - 322. 10.1111/j.1365-2923.2009.03588.x.

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Abstract

ObjectivesGood Medical Practice, produced by the General Medical Council (GMC), represents the professional code of practice for doctors in the UK. It is regularly updated to reflect the changing relationships of the profession with both patients and society in general. The discourse within this guidance appears to have shifted over time to a stance that aligns itself more closely with the protection of patients, rather than with the traditional professional provision of guidance and support to doctors.MethodsTag clouds are a feature of the latest applications of the World Wide Web, commonly known as Web 2.0. They can be used to rapidly analyse textual data, revealing textual messages in a pictorial form. Tag cloud-generating software was used to produce tag clouds of four texts illustrating GMC guidance produced between 1963 and 2006 to aid textual analysis and to determine whether this methodology could pick up this change in tenor.ResultsThis analysis supports the view that there has been a shift from a doctor-centred regulatory discourse to a patient-centred health improvement agenda over the period of time examined.DiscussionWhether this documentation voices a deprofessionalisation agenda or simply mirrors a period of societal change in general is discussed. The changing discourse around professionalism highlights the need to avoid adopting 'nostalgic' notions of professionalism in educating doctors and reinforces where the GMC sees we should focus our education efforts: in patient-centred care and team-working. The demands on, and responsibilities of students and juniors entering the profession have been fundamentally altered and our teaching, particularly in the domain of professionalism, needs to reflect this.Tag clouds provide an interesting and innovative way of analysing text and revealing obscured discourses, and their potential in education and research is worthy of further exploration.

Type: Article
Title: Good Medical Practice: what are we trying to say? Textual analysis using tag clouds
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2923.2009.03588.x
Keywords: PROFESSION
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > UCL Medical School
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1322438
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