Futures Studies Approaches in Medical Education: A BEME Systematic Review: BEME Guide No. 52.

Document Type : Systematic review/Meta analysis


1 Nursing and Midwifery College, Bojnourd Branch, Islamic Azad University, Bojnourd, Iran

2 Department of Educational Management, Sari Branch, Islamic Azad University, Sari, Iran


Background: Over 50 years after the introduction of futures studies, the number of such studies in medical education is very limited. Familiarization with futures studies can have a positive effect on the application of these studies in medical education. The study was performed to Review and synthesize the best existing evidence in the literature that addresses the question, "What are the most effective futures studies approaches in medical education"?
Methods: Based on Best Evidence Medical Education (BEME) guidelines, a review of PubMed, Scopus, Educational Resource Information Center, Web of Science, and Google Scholar (1976–2019), was conducted with the search strategy of ("futures studies" OR "future studies"), "Medical education", and "approach OR method". Hand searching and grey literature search were also used. According to inclusion criteria, all abstracts and papers were screened by pairs of reviewers. Using the presage process product (3P) model, analyzing and synthesizing the included studies was performed.
Results: From screening 1533 abstracts, 7 articles met the inclusion criteria. A wide range of futures studies methods have been introduced for medical education, but the most commonly used methods were different types of scenarios.
Conclusion: Using different forms of scenario was the most used method in future studies in medical education. The variety and breadth of future studies in medical education call for a more and more specific and limited number of methods to be undertaken in this field.


1.            Marien MJF. Futures-thinking and identity: Why “Futures Studies” is not a field, discipline, or discourse: a response to Ziauddin Sardar's ‘the namesake’. Futures 2010;42(3):190-4.
2.            Márton A. The education and practice of futures studies in Estonia. Society and Economy. 2018;40(2):271-87.
3.            Goode L, Godhe M. Beyond Capitalist Realism - Why We Need Critical Future Studies. Culture Unbound: Journal of Current Cultural Research. 2017;9(1):109-29.
4.            Bell W. An overview of futures studies. The knowledge base of futures studies: Foundations. 1996:28-56.
5.            Marien M. Futures studies in the 21st century: a reality-based view. Futures. 2002;34(3-4):261-81.
6.            Monda E. Social futuring–In the context of futures studies. J Society. 2018;40(s1):77-109.
7.            Siraj S, Abdullah M. Development of Future Curriculum via Futures Studies. US –China Education Review. 2011;2:226-36.
8.            Milojevic I. Educational futures: Dominant and contesting visions: Routledge; 2005.
9.            Bleakley A, Bligh J, Browne J. Medical education for the future: Identity, power and location: Springer Science & Business Media; 2011.
10.          Hayton A, Paczuska A. Access, participation and higher education: Policy and practice: Routledge; 2003.
11.          Garrett MJ. An introduction to national futures studies for policymakers in the health sector. World health statistics quarterly Rapport trimestriel de statistiques sanitaires mondiales. 1994;47(3-4):101-17.
12.          Fabbri C, Serretti A. Clinical application of antidepressant pharmacogenetics: Considerations for the design of future studies. Neuroscience letters. 2018:133651.
13.          Hopper AD, Campbell JA. Improving future studies in chronic pancreatitis: a paradigm shift in our understanding? Gut. 2018;67(7):1365-6.
14.          Harden RM, Grant J, Buckley G, Hart IR. BEME Guide No. 1: Best Evidence Medical Education. Med teach. 1999;21(6):553-62.
15.          von Elm E, Altman DG, Egger M, Pocock SJ, Gotzsche PC, Vandenbroucke JP, et al. The Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) Statement: guidelines for reporting observational studies. International journal of surgery (London, England). 2014;12(12):1495-9.
16.          Kuosa T. Evolution of futures studies. Futures. 2011;43(3):327-36.
17.          Mietzner D, Reger GJIJTI, Planning. Advantages and disadvantages of scenario approaches for strategic foresight. Int. J. Technology Intelligence and Planning 2005;1(2):220-39.
18.          McNamara J. Trend impact analysis and scenario writing: strategies for the specification of decision alternatives in educational planning. Journal of Educational Administration. 1976;14(2):143-61.
19.          Berkhout F, Hertin JJGMI. Foresight futures scenarios: developing and applying a participative strategic planning tool. Greener Management International 2002:37-53.
20.          Rahmanian E, Nekoei-Moghadam M, Mardani M. Factors affecting futures Studies in hospitals: A Qualitative Study. J Qual Res Health Sci 2019;7(4):361-71. Persian.
21.          Deklotz PF. Scenario Planning: A Phenomenological Examination of Influence on Organizational Learning and Decision-making in a K–12 Public Education System [Ph.D.]. Ann Arbor: Cardinal Stritch University; 2013.
22.          Morrison JL, et al. Futures Research and the Strategic Planning Process: Implications for Higher Education. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Research Report No. 9, 1984. 1984.
23.          Nováky E, Sáfrányné Gubik A. Handling Uncertainty in Futures Studies. SECURITY CHALLENGES IN THE 21ST CENTURY 2018.