Evaluation of teaching methodologies in pharmacology for undergraduates: a cross-sectional analysis in a medical college of South India

Zainab Ghazala, Prakash Kalshetty, Shrenik Vardhamane


Background: Pharmacology is an important part of medical education. A competent doctor should be able to prescribe rational treatment to the patients to minimise the adverse effects and contribute to the improvement of overall healthcare system. There is a dire need to reform the undergraduate pharmacology curriculum to match up to the rapidly evolving medical field. Feedback system is one of the most successful instruments in improving any system. We have undertaken a similar feedback system to study the advantages and disadvantages of various study methods for teaching theory and practical exercises to the medical undergraduates.

Methods: This is a cross sectional questionnaire based study conducted in the department of pharmacology. Students of MBBS 2nd year were enrolled into the study. The purpose of the study was explained to them and clarifications were made if any. The questionnaire included questions on various aspects of teaching methodology and graded by students on internationally accepted ‘Likert’ scale.

Results: In our study students favoured teaching by blackboard method (96%) and many preferred a combination of blackboard and power point presentation. Discussing on issues of clinical significance of the topic was favoured by 96% of the students and 67% students responded that stressing on the facts concerned with Post graduate entrance exams is more important. Sixty nine percent and 85% students preferred short essays and MCQs respectively as method of evaluation and 68% of them favoured evaluation by both the methods. Regarding pharmacology practical exercises most of the students preferred clinical problems, dosage calculation, ADR reporting and other problem based learning techniques. Studying pharmacology as an integrated subject with other clinical subjects was preferred by 68% of the students.

Conclusions: It is well known that students learn better when they are involved actively in learning process than when they are passive recipients. In our study we realised that undergraduate pharmacology teaching pattern should be modified mostly towards pharmacotherapeutics and clinical pharmacology.


Evaluation, Feedback, Pharmacology, Teaching methods

Full Text:



Vasundara K, Kanchan P, Pundarikaksha HP, Girish K, Prassana S, Jyothi R. An imperative need to change pharmacology curriculum: A pilot survey. Indian J Pharmacol. 2010 Dec;42(6):420.

Desai M. Changing face of pharmacology practicals for medical undergraduates. Indian J Pharmacol. 2009 Aug;41(4):151.

Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, MCI. New Delhi; 2012. Available at:

Gitanjali B. New wine in new bottle. Indian J Pharmacol. 2004 Mar 1;36(2):63.

Bhavsar VH, Vajpeyee SK, Joshi NJ, Mistry SD, Kantharia ND, Sharma AK, et al. Training during practical pharmacology sessions for undergraduate medical students: An experience with a modified teaching programme. Indian J Pharmacol. 1999 May 1;31(3):176.

Kaufman DM, Mann KV. Achievement of students in a conventional and problem-based learning (PBL) curriculum. Advances Health Sci Education. 1999 Nov 1;4(3):245-60.

Bhowmick K, Mukhopadhyay M, Chakraborty S, Sen PK, Chakraborty I. Assessment of perception of first professional MBBS students in India about a teaching learning activity in Biochemistry. South East Asian J Med Education. 2009;3(2):27-34.

Edlich RF. My last lecture. J Emergency Med. 1993;11(6):771-4.

Advani UP, Bhojani KG, Gada VP. VMGMC students view on the prevailing teaching methods in pharmacology and changes recommended. Solapur Med J. 2006;2:1-8.

Kela AK, Mehta VL. Impact of inclusion of clinical projects in undergraduate teaching. Indian J Pharmacol. 1993 Oct 1;25(4):249.

Han WH, Maxwell SR. Are medical students adequately trained to prescribe at the point of graduation? Views of first year foundation doctors. Scott Med J. 2006;51:27‑32.

Shenfield GM. Integrating clinical pharmacology teaching with general practice. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 1998 Apr;45(4):399-401.

Michel MC, Bischoff A, zu Heringdorf D, Neumann D, Jakobs KH. Problem-vs. lecture-based pharmacology teaching in a German medical school. Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Arch Pharmacol. 2002 Jul 1;366(1):64-8.