What is a Suitable ESP Project?

Scope and venue

You will need to plan an educational project that can be completed within the 3 years of your participation in the Educational Scholars Program, including submission of a paper, abstract or workshop for peer review. Quality is more important than quantity or scale. Given the time that projects will require, we recommend that you select a project that is feasible, will enhance your current educational activities, and will directly benefit your division/institution.


What do we mean by a scholarly educational project?

Educational projects can involve the development, implementation, evaluation and/or dissemination of educational interventions or evaluation methods. These activities will be considered "scholarly" if they are conducted according to a planned, rigorous process that is consistent with educational best practices and conceptual frameworks (or theories)  as defined by the literature. Scholarly projects in the field of education might involve teaching, development of educational materials, curriculum development, evaluation development or faculty development. Dissemination through peer reviewed publication or presentation is a key element of educational scholarship so concepts and products can be adopted or adapted by others.

Educators have defined the essential criteria for evaluation of educational scholarship to be: Clear Goals, Adequate Preparation, Appropriate Methods, Significant Results, Effective Presentation and Reflective Critique.

We encourage Scholars to think creatively about project topics and formats. Read educational research studies from journals such as Academic Pediatrics or Academic Medicine or browse educational research abstracts from PAS or other academic meetings. The following suggestions are intended to stimulate your creativity, not limit your options. Projects from prior ESP Cohorts can be found on the ESP web page.

Original educational research investigations:

  • Does the availability of written educational goals and specific objectives for a PICU rotation improve resident learning and lead to improvements in patient care?
  • Does adoption of a service-learning methodology (i.e. formal reflective exercises) improve resident learning and create documentable improvements in systems-based practice?
  • To what extent do community experiences change the practice outcomes of graduating residents?

Program or curriculum evaluation, e.g.:

  • A new curriculum to address implicit bias in medical students.
  • A resident elective in the role of spirituality in clinical care.
  • A faculty development course designed to improve the quality of bedside teaching on patient-and-family centered rounds.


Evaluation of a new method or technology on learning, e.g.,:

  • The impact of a creative non-fiction writing course on professional identity formation for early medical students.
  • A novel standardized patient curriculum to teach de-escalation of angry caregivers to residents.
  • An online system to facilitate resident 360 evaluation at the beginning and end of a learning experience involving community partners.



Boyer EL. Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate. Princeton, NY: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 1990.

Glassick CE, Huber MR, Caeroff GI. Scholarship Assessed - Evaluation of the Professoriate. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 1997.

Fincher, R E, Simpson, DE, Mennin, SP, Rosenfeld, GC, Rothman, A, McGrew, MC, Hansen, PA, Mazmanian, PE, and Turnbull, JM. Scholarship in Teaching: An Imperative for the 21st Century. Academic Medicine, 75: 887-894, Sept 2000.

Simpson D, Fincher RE, Hafler JP, Irby DM, Richards BF, Rosenfeld GC, Viggiano TR. Advancing educators and education by defining the components and evidence associated with educational scholarship. Med Educ. 2007; 41(10):1002-1009 Epub 2007