April 2019 Research Rounds

Medical Clerks’ Understanding and Management of Directed Questioning

Dr. Lawrence Lo

Lawrence Lo

Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Time: 12:00pm to 1:30pm (feel free to bring a bagged lunch)


  • JPPN 141 – Taylor Fidler Auditorium* (host venue)
    *Please note the room change for this session of Research Rounds
  • IRC 305
  • RJH CA 120
  • NHSC 9-374



Throughout clerkship, preceptors ask medical students questions for both assessment and teaching purposes. Often labeled the “Socratic Method,” such questioning has been a widespread, unchallenged cornerstone of medical education for at least a century. However, the process has also been called “pimping,” a process that may evoke negative emotions in learners, in contradiction to the spirit and goals of the Socratic Method. While there has been some research into students’ preferences and judgments regarding pimping, little is available in the medical education literature to provide an understanding of how the students themselves actually understand and approach the task of addressing directed questions from their preceptors, particularly in situations of uncertainty. Thus we are limited in our ability to judge how effectively this activity fulfills their purposes of assessment or determine the activity’s associated educational effects. Based on data collected for a study exploring students’ approaches to managing situations in which they have been challenged with questions from preceptors to which they do not know the answer, this session will elaborate the student perspective on and responses to this complex social interaction. Medical students’ constructions of the social nuances of the directed questioning process and the variety of contextually invoked strategies they use to manage the situation and maintain a positive image will be described and discussed.


Dr. Lawrence Lo is a geriatrician at Providence Health Care and a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Division of Geriatric Medicine at the University of British Columbia (UBC). He is the current program director of the UBC Geriatric Medicine subspecialty residency training program. He completed his Clinical Educator Fellowship at the UBC Centre for Health Education and Scholarship (CHES) and Masters of Health Professions Education through Maastricht University in 2014. He holds a bachelor of science in Pharmacology from UBC and a Medical Doctorate from the University of Toronto. He maintains a research interest regarding the roles of language in medical education.


The University of British Columbia Division of Continuing Professional Development (UBC CPD) is fully accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Continuing Medical Education (CACME) to provide study credits for continuing medical education for physicians. This event is an Accredited Group Learning Activity (Section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification Program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and approved by UBC CPD. You may claim a maximum of 1.5 (x 10 sessions) hours (credits are automatically calculated). This Group Learning program meets the certification criteria of the College of Family Physicians of Canada and has been certified by UBC CPD for up to 1.5 (x 10 sessions) Mainpro+ credits. Each physician should claim only those credits he/she actually spent in the activity.

Accredited by UBC CPD