Research priorities

As a university academic interested in publishing research in clinical prescribing you can submit a proposal for the release of Prescribing Safety Assessment (PSA) data.

If you are considering making an application, get in touch and we can give you some advice.

Research topics we are interested in supporting are:


The acceptability of the PSA amongst:

  • other stakeholders for example employers, patients
  • medical students
  • medical schools, including factors for using the PSA formatively or summatively and how these could be overcome

Educational impact

  • an analysis of the most common prescribing errors made on the PSA
  • the effect of changing the use of the PSA within a school on student behaviour and performance
  • the preparing and taking the PSA on students’ views of their preparedness to practise
  • the effect of extra time on completion and performance for students with dyslexia
  • a study of the demand of the PSA, incorporating data from many factors including analysis of keystrokes and amount of time spent searching the British National Formaluary (BNF)
  • the effect of the PSA on learning behaviour in medical students from many factors including the use of the PSA interface or the impact on learning in other curriculum areas
  • the effect of the PSA on medical schools’ teaching and learning of prescribing with a comparison of curriculum over time
  • development, implementation and evaluation of improvements in prescribing skills based on PSA results
  • an investigation of how students approach the assessment, for example using the theory of planned behaviour


  • Using methods of analysis of PSA scores to make recommendations of how to enhance reliability, including a focus on the pass mark

Validity (concurrent)

Relationship between PSA:

  • scores and specifically-developed simulation exercises
  • scores and those from other (existing) medical school assessments
  • and nationally-used shared prescribing Objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) stations

Validity (construct)

  • further examination of the correlations between scores on different sections of the PSA

Validity (predictive)

  • prediction of PSA scores from UKCAT scores, in particular the numerical UKCAT scores and PSA calculation skills items

Relationship between PSA scores and:

  • Royal College examination results, in particular prescribing-focused questions

  • real life prescribing outcomes using a variety of data sources for example, electronic prescribing systems

  • real life prescribing outcomes in context for example, trust-based assessments