Medical students' preferences in radiology education a comparison between the Socratic and didactic methods utilizing powerpoint features in radiology education

Acad Radiol. 2011 Feb;18(2):253-6. doi: 10.1016/j.acra.2010.09.005. Epub 2010 Nov 13.


Rationale and objectives: The Socratic method has long been a traditional teaching method in medicine and law. It is currently accepted as the standard of teaching in clinical wards, while the didactic teaching method is widely used during the first 2 years of medical school. There are arguments in support of both styles of teaching.

Materials and methods: After attending a radiology conference demonstrating different teaching methods, third-year and fourth-year medical students were invited to participate in an online anonymous survey.

Results: Of the 74 students who responded, 72% preferred to learn radiology in an active context. They preferred being given adequate time to find abnormalities on images, with feedback afterward from instructors, and they thought the best approach was a volunteer-based system of answering questions using the Socratic method in the small group. They desired to be asked questions in a way that was constructive and not belittling, to realize their knowledge deficits and to have daily pressure to come prepared. The respondents thought that pimping was an effective teaching tool, supporting previous studies.

Conclusions: When teaching radiology, instructors should use the Socratic method to a greater extent. Combining Socratic teaching with gentle questioning by an instructor through the use of PowerPoint is a preferred method among medical students. This information is useful to improve medical education in the future, especially in radiology education.

MeSH terms

  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate*
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Radiology / education*
  • Students, Medical / psychology*
  • Teaching / methods*