Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Analysis of questioning technique during classes in medical education

Young Hye Cho1, Sang Yeoup Lee12*, Dong Wook Jeong1, Sun Ju Im2, Eun Jung Choi1, Sun Hee Lee2, Sun Yong Baek2, Yun Jin Kim3, Jeong Gyu Lee3, Yu Hyone Yi3, Mi Jin Bae3 and So Jung Yune4

Author Affiliations

1 Family Medicine Clinic and Research Institute of Convergence of Biomedical Science and Technology, Pusan National University Yangsan Hospital, Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do, Republic of Korea

2 Medical Education Unit and Medical Research Institute, Pusan National University, School of Medicine, Beomeo-ri Mulgeum-eup, Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do, 626-870, South Korea

3 Department of Family Medicine, Pusan National University Hospital, Busan, South Korea

4 Center for Teaching and Learning, Pusan National University, Busan, South Korea

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BMC Medical Education 2012, 12:39  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-12-39

Published: 12 June 2012



Questioning is one of the essential techniques used by lecturers to make lectures more interactive and effective. This study surveyed the perception of questioning techniques by medical school faculty members and analyzed how the questioning technique is used in actual classes.


Data on the perceptions of the questioning skills used during lectures was collected using a self‒questionnaire for faculty members (N = 33) during the second semester of 2008. The questionnaire consisted of 18 items covering the awareness and characteristics of questioning skills. Recorded video tapes were used to observe the faculty members’ questioning skills.


Most faculty members regarded the questioning technique during classes as being important and expected positive outcomes in terms of the students’ participation in class, concentration in class and understanding of the class contents. In the 99 classes analyzed, the median number of questions per class was 1 (0–29). Among them, 40 classes (40.4 %) did not use questioning techniques. The frequency of questioning per lecture was similar regardless of the faculty members’ perception. On the other hand, the faculty members perceived that their usual wait time after question was approximately 10 seconds compared to only 2.5 seconds measured from video analysis. More lecture‒experienced faculty members tended to ask more questions in class.


There were some discrepancies regarding the questioning technique between the faculty members’ perceptions and reality, even though they had positive opinions of the technique. The questioning skills during a lecture need to be emphasized to faculty members.

Questioning; Lecture; Medical education; Wait‒time; Faculty; Perception; Reality