Concept learning through question framing in Pharmacology

Syam Sreedharan, Hyma Vijayalekshmi, Dhanya S. Palappallil


Background: Framing questions is a skill that requires expertise, knowledge, guidance and mentoring. It provides structure for deep learning, critical thinking and also promotes interaction and communication. Objective of this study is to analyze the question framing skills of fifth semester medical students on a ‘must know’ area in Pharmacology.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was done in the Department of Pharmacology of a Government Medical College in Central Kerala. After briefing about the study, each of the participants was instructed to frame a question which were collected after 15 minutes. The data on different aspects of questions was analysed by Statistical Package for the Social Sciences 16.

Results: Total 130 students, 79 females and 51 males participated in this study. 7 questions were incomplete and excluded from further analysis. From the rest 123 properly framed questions, 106(86.2%) were correct, 10(8.1%) were partially correct and 7(5.7%) incorrect with regards to the task assigned. In this study knowledge as well as application was tested in 50.4% questions, comprehension in 21.1% and application alone in 22.8%. The knowledge dimension tested was factual in 91(74%) and conceptual in 32(26%). Non-hierarchical classification showed 96(78%) convergent and 27(22%) divergent.

Conclusions: In this study majority of the participants framed direct short answer questions which reflects factual knowledge indicating their lower-level cognition. Critical thinking and procurement of higher level cognition can be attained by directing them to frame the right question especially in medical education.


Concept learning, Cognition dimension, Critical thinking, Innovative learning, Knowledge dimension, Question framing

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