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Feedback Credibility in Healthcare Education: a Systematic Review and Synthesis

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The purpose of this study was to systematically review and synthesize factors that influence learners’ perceptions of credibility when feedback is provided by an authority figure in a healthcare environment.


This study reviewed literature from medicine, psychology, and education using systematic review and qualitative synthesis methods. In a multi-step process, major electronic bibliographic databases were searched for relevant studies until October 2020.


The search identified 9216 articles. A total of 134 abstracts underwent full-text review. Of these, 22 articles met inclusion criteria. The studies were heterogenous and the majority utilized a qualitative design with interviews and focus groups. A few studies employed mixed methodology (n = 2) and two studies used a quantitative design. Four main themes were identified: feedback characteristics, context of feedback, source credibility, and recipient characteristics.


As programs implement major educational change initiatives to create more formative assessment practices, feedback will become even more crucial. The four main themes identified are important factors that contribute to the perception of feedback credibility. While the factors are described independently, they may be viewed as interrelated and the association between these factors and feedback may be driven more by learning culture than each characteristic.

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Authors and Affiliations



CD and SC conceived and planned the study. CD and KB performed the data collection and analysis, and wrote the manuscript. SC supervised the project.

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Correspondence to Cecilia M. Dai.

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Dai, C.M., Bertram, K. & Chahine, S. Feedback Credibility in Healthcare Education: a Systematic Review and Synthesis. Med.Sci.Educ. 31, 923–933 (2021).

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