Exploring narrative feedback to undergraduate dental hygiene and dental therapy students

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Purpose/Objectives: The nature and quality of feedback provided during the training of healthcare students have been found to influence the progress of students throughout their clinical practice. The use of electronic systems for feedback is becoming more prevalent; but there appears to be an absence of research into the use of these systems with Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy students (DHDT). The aim of this study was to explore the written, narrative feedback provided by tutors to undergraduate DHDT students on a 3-year BSc programme, using Liftupp – an Information Management System that incorporates electronic feedback mechanisms.

Methods: The data comprised written, narrative feedback to DHDT students (n = 96) on clinical performance in academic Years Two and Three entered into Liftupp by five clinical tutors (n = 5) over 2 academic years. These feedback comments were subjected to a thematic analysis and matrix queries using NVivo.

Results: Ten major themes were identified. Preliminary findings indicated that the constructive “Descriptive” theme was prominent across all tutors, while other constructive themes: “Directive” and “Positive” were linked more to individual tutors. The less constructive themes were infrequent in tutor feedback. In addition, unique feedback profiles for tutors were generated.

Conclusions: The analysis of narrative feedback from tutors on Liftupp enables the identification of feedback trends that can be reviewed and shared with tutors to improve the quality of their feedback. In addition, this research can be used to inform tutor training to promote the use of meaningful and effective feedback. Potential further research and limitations have been identified.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1285-1291
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Dental Education
Issue number10
Early online date22 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022


  • dental hygiene
  • dental therapy
  • education
  • feedback
  • students


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