Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 111–116 | Cite as

Giving feedback in medical education

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


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 feedback faculty development narrative inquiry semantic differential 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Ende J. Feedback in clinical medical education. JAMA. 1983;250(8):777–81.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Isaacson JH, Posk LK, Litaker DG, Halperin AK. Resident perceptions of the evaluation process. Society of General Internal Medicine. J Gen Intern Med. 1995;10(suppl):89.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Westberg J, Jason H. Collaborative Clinical Education: The Foundation of Effective Health Care. New York, NY: Springer Company; 1993.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Scholtes PR. The Team Handbook: How to Use Teams to Improve Quality. Madison, Wis: Joiner Associates; 1988.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Lipkin M, Kaplan C, Clark W, Novack DH. Teaching medical interviewing: the Lipkin model. In: Lipkin M, Putnam SM, Lazare A, eds. The Medical Interview: Clinical Care, Education and Research. New York, NY: Springer-Verlag; 1995:413–22.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Sandelowski M. Telling stories: narrative approaches in qualitative research. IMAGE: J Nurs Sch. 1991;23(3):161–6.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Crabtree BF, Miller WL, eds. Doing Qualitative Research. Newbury Park, Calif: Sage Publications; 1992.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Osgood CE, Suci GJ, Tannenbaum PH. The Measurement of Meaning. Urbana; Ill: University of Illinois Press; 1957.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Albreck PL, Settle RB. The Survey Research Handbook. (2nd ed.) Chicago, Ill: Richard D Irwin, Inc; 1995.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Beckman H, Markakis K, Suchman A, Frankel R. The doctor-patient relationship and malpractice. Arch Intern Med. 1994;154:1365–70.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Knowles MS. The Modern Practice of Adult Education. San Francisco, Calif: Jossey-Bass Publishers; 1980.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hewson MG. Clinical teaching in the ambulatory setting. J Gen Intern Med. 1992;7:76–82.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations