Giving feedback in medical education: verification of recommended techniques

J Gen Intern Med. 1998 Feb;13(2):111-6. 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 feedback; 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.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Communication
  • Education, Medical*
  • Feedback*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic*
  • Models, Educational
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Teaching*