Perspectives on quality assurance methods – A comparison of osteopathic programmes in two countries: A pilot study

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Michelson, Hayley Charmaine
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Osteopathy
Unitec Institute of Technology
Standen, Clive
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
osteopathic education
quality assurance
international comparison
Michelson, H. C. (2011). Perspectives on quality assurance methods – A comparison of osteopathic programmes in two countries: A pilot study. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Osteopathy). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from
Introduction Osteopathy is practised and taught in approximately 50 countries around the world. Anecdotally, there is evidence of a wide variety in the regulation and accreditation of osteopathic education. However, there is little formal research exploring the comparison of osteopathic education programmes in different countries. This research attempts to present a method by which osteopathic programmes may be compared in order to develop a deeper understanding of the issues facing the education and practice of osteopathy today. Aim The objective of this research is to identify and compare the perspectives on quality assurance (QA) methods of a Key Informant and students at three osteopathic programmes in two countries. Furthermore, this research aims to analyse the comparability of the Key Informant and student perspectives at each osteopathic programme, and the intranational and international comparability of the themes identified by the research. Method This qualitative pilot study used an interpretive description methodological research design to identify and compare perspectives on QA methods through an interview and focus group at three osteopathic programmes. An inductive thematic analysis was conducted for the interpretation of the data. Results Several common themes were identified through the comparison of the data. These included the action of QA methods, students, faculty, regulatory authorities and academia, the role of allopathic medicine, the end-goal versus the student experience, and finance and administration. Many perspectives of the themes identified were comparable; however, there existed significant differences between the three osteopathic programmes which assisted in the development in a deeper understanding of the issues facing osteopathic education and the profession. Conclusion The method presented in this research for the comparison of osteopathic programmes in different countries is of value in establishing themes and issues pertinent to the wider osteopathic community. The limited scope of this research presents opportunities for further comparative research of osteopathic education.
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