Development of the Feedback Quality Instrument: a guide for health professional educators in fostering learner-centred discussions

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Background: Face-to-face feedback plays an important role in health professionals’ workplace learning. The literature describes guiding principles regarding effective feedback but it is not clear how to enact these. We aimed to create a Feedback Quality Instrument (FQI), underpinned by a social constructivist perspective, to assist educators in collaborating with learners to support learner-centred feedback interactions. In earlier research, we developed a set of observable educator behaviours designed to promote beneficial learner outcomes, supported by published research and expert consensus. This research focused on analysing and refining this provisional instrument, to create the FQI ready-to-use. Methods: We collected videos of authentic face-to-face feedback discussions, involving educators (senior clinicians) and learners (clinicians or students), during routine clinical practice across a major metropolitan hospital network. Quantitative and qualitative analyses of the video data were used to refine the provisional instrument. Raters administered the provisional instrument to systematically analyse educators’ feedback practice seen in the videos. This enabled usability testing and resulted in ratings data for psychometric analysis involving multifaceted Rasch model analysis and exploratory factor analysis. Parallel qualitative research of the video transcripts focused on two under-researched areas, psychological safety and evaluative judgement, to provide practical insights for item refinement. The provisional instrument was revised, using an iterative process, incorporating findings from usability testing, psychometric testing and parallel qualitative research and foundational research. Results: Thirty-six videos involved diverse health professionals across medicine, nursing and physiotherapy. Administering the provisional instrument generated 174 data sets. Following refinements, the FQI contained 25 items, clustered into five domains characterising core concepts underpinning quality feedback: set the scene, analyse performance, plan improvements, foster learner agency, and foster psychological safety. Conclusions: The FQI describes practical, empirically-informed ways for educators to foster quality, learner-centred feedback discussions. The explicit descriptions offer guidance for educators and provide a foundation for the systematic analysis of the influence of specific educator behaviours on learner outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number382
Number of pages17
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Effective feedback
  • Factor analysis
  • Feedback
  • Feedback instrument
  • Health professional education
  • Instrument development
  • MFRM
  • Professional development
  • Psychometric evaluation
  • Scale development
  • Workplace learning

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