The Effects of an In-classroom Diagnostic Thinking Program on Medical Students: a quasi-experimental study

Document Type : Original Article


1 Oncology Department of Internal Medicine, Valiasr Hospital, Birjand University of medical science, Birjand, Iran

2 Education Development Center (EDC), Birjand University of Medical Sciences, Birjand, Iran

3 Medical School, Birjand University of Medical Sciences, Birjand, Iran



Background: One of the expected competencies of physicians is clinical reasoning. Therefore, diagnostic thinking in medical students is important. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of diagnostic thinking instructional program on medical students.
Method: The research was quasi-experimental. The target group was medical students who spent their internship in the internal department. The sample size for each group was 20 participants. 20 interns in the three-month rotation of autumn 2018 were considered as control and 20 interns entering the department in the winter rotation of the same year were considered as the intervention group. Students were evaluated using Diagnostic Thinking Questionnaire (DTI). Data analysis was done with descriptive and analytical statistics.
Results: The two groups did not differ in terms of the number of participants, age, grade point average and mean DTI score in the pre-test (P>0.05). The pre-test scores of two groups in the flexibility of thinking (P=0.09), memory structure (P=0.68), and the total score of diagnostic thinking (P=0.4) were not significantly different. The post-test scores of students in the sections of flexibility of thinking, memory structure, and the total score of diagnostic thinking of both groups did not change significantly compared to the pre-test scores (P>0.05). There was a significant relationship between only the two variables of grade point average and memory structure score in the post-test (r=0.46, P=0.004).
Conclusion: The in-class diagnostic thinking instructional program did not affect students' diagnostic thinking in the absence of patients which is probably due to the lack of patient encounters.


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