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The philosophy of chiropractic: an action research model of curriculum review

By David Waalen, Terry Watkins and Ron Saranchuk


The philosophy of chiropractic has always been regarded as an integral and indispensable component of the curriculum at chiropractic colleges. This study describes a review process in which instruments were designed to survey students and faculty to obtain information concerning curricular aspects of philosophy at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College. Approximately one half of the student body (N = 292) and sixty percent of the full-time and part-time faculty members (N = 66) responded to the surveys. The students who were surveyed indicated that philosophy was a very important part of their chiropractic education and they felt that their needs in this regard were not being met by the present program. Further, they perceived most faculty as being unappreciative of philosophy. The results from the faculty survey were at odds with the students’ perceptions and indicated that the faculty members were favourably disposed towards philosophy and felt that it should be an integral part of the students’ educational experience. The information gained from these surveys was subsequently used as a catalyst to stimulate discussion in a series of student/faculty focus groups on philosophy. These discussions helped to clarify some curricular philosophical issues and resulted in specific modifications to the philosophy program in the areas of content, format, faculty, and evaluation methods

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