Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 111–116

Giving feedback in medical education

Verification of recommended techniques
  • Mariana G. Hewson
  • Margaret L. Little
Original Articles

DOI: 10.1046/j.1525-1497.1998.00027.x

Cite this article as:
Hewson, M.G. & Little, M.L. J GEN INTERN MED (1998) 13: 111. doi:10.1046/j.1525-1497.1998.00027.x


OBJECTIVE: We investigated naturally occurring feedback incidents to substantiate literature-based recommended techniques for giving feedback effectively.

SETTING: A faculty development course for improving the teaching of the medical interview, with opportunities for participants to receive feedback.

PARTICIPANTS: Seventy-four course participants (clinician-educators from a wide range of medical disciplines, and several behavioral scientists).

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: We used qualitative and quantitative approaches. Participants provided narratives of helpful and unhelpful incidents experienced during the course and then rated their own narratives using a semantic-differential survey. We found strong agreement between the two approaches, and congruence between our data and the recommended literature. Giving feedback effectively includes: establishing an appropriate interpersonal climate; using an appropriate location; establishing mutually agreed upon goals; eliciting the learner’s thoughts and feelings; reflecting on observed behaviors; being nonjudgmental; relating feedback to specific behaviors; offering the right amount of feeback; and offering suggestions for improvement.

CONCLUSIONS: Feedback techniques experienced by respondents substantiate the literature-based recommendations, and corrective feedback is regarded as helpful when delivered appropriately. A model for providing feedback is offered.

Key words

giving feedbackfaculty developmentnarrative inquirysemantic differential

Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mariana G. Hewson
    • 1
  • Margaret L. Little
    • 2
  1. 1.the Cleveland ClinicCleveland
  2. 2.the University of Wisconsin Medical SchoolMadison
  3. 3.Division of Education TT31The Cleveland Clinic FoundationCleveland