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Indian Journal of Community Medicine

Quiz as a Method to Teach Family Welfare and Demography to Medical Undergraduate Students

Author(s): S.B. Rotti, B. Sudhir, M. Danabalan

Vol. 29, No. 3 (2004-07 - 2004-09)



To increase the awareness and interest in the topic; to test the knowledge in the applied aspects of family welfare and demography in community health; and to enhance student participation in acquiring the knowledge. Study design : Descriptive study Setting : Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, JIPMER, Pondicherry. Participants : MBBS students studying in the fourth clinical semester. Results : A series of two quiz competitions were conducted to teach family welfare and demography during the year 1999 to medical undergraduates. Competitions were arranged between four teams of 4-5 students and MCQs were administered to all students. Each quiz consisted of case history, visual and rapid-fire rounds. Feedback was elicited at the end of each quiz. Out of 70 students enrolled, 76% to 86% attended the first and the second quiz session respectively. The performance of students in quiz was encouraging with the winning teams scoring 85% in both the sessions. In the MCQ round, 60% of the students scored between 61-80 marks in first session and 93% scored between 81-100 marks in the second session. Students appreciated the quiz method as it was different from the routine lecture classes; innovative and interesting; and helped them to come prepared; offered scope for participation of the whole class; and helped to develop a competitive spirit. Some students suggested more questions in each round; more rounds in each quiz; and more quiz competitions in other topics also. Conclusion : Quiz was used to teach family welfare and demography to medical undergraduates successfully. The performance of the students and their participation were very much encouraging.

Key words: Medical Education, Family welfare, Demography.


National Health Policy of India (1983)1 has identified stabilisation of population as one of the urgent issues to be addressed to and has stressed the need for reorientation in the training of family welfare and demography. The Medical Council of India in its "Regulations on medical education 1997" has given special importance to Family Welfare and Demography for MBBS course. Its curriculum has been considered under Anatomy, Physiology, Pharmacology, Community Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Paediatrics, and General Surgery with integrated training involving pre, para and clinical departments. In Community Medicine emphasis is placed on practical aspects and organization of services in this area. The Medical Council of India has also observed that lectures alone are not generally adequate as a method of training and are poor means of transferring / acquiring information and even less effective at skill development and in generating the appropriate attitudes. It suggestes that every effort should be made to encourage the use of active methods related to demonstration and first hand experience2. There is a scope for trying innovative approaches, especially in institution like ours where intake of students is 75 per year and staff-student ratio is good. It is already reported that group discussions have been employed successfully to teach majority of the topics in Community Medicine in the pre-clinical years3. Some topics are taught using modern audio-visuals such as television; video-cassette recorder, slide projector with tape recorder in para-clinical years4; and small student research projects have been used as a tool to teach epidemiology5. In 1999, topics of Family Welfare and Demography were taught using two one-hour quiz competitions conducted in the existing time-table of lectures. Though quiz competitions are conducted to hold competitions between a few teams, some modifications were made to serve the element of concurrent evaluation of all students in the class. The objectives were to increase the awareness and interest in the topic; to test the knowledge in the applied aspects of family welfare and demography in community health; and to enhance student participation in acquiring the knowledge.


Quiz competitions were conducted for MBBS students studying in the fourth clinical semester during the month of September in the year 1999. The schedule of the quiz was announced two weeks in advance. The topic was `Family Welfare' for the first session and `Demography' for the second session.

There were 70 students in the class. Each class was divided into four groups with 15-20 students per group. For the quiz a smaller group of 4-5 students from each group was chosen as quiz team. If anybody was absent, other students from the respective batches were chosen to replace the absentee. In the quiz session, students of each group other than the members of the team formed the audience. One of the authors (SBR) was the quiz master and the scorer was the another author (BS).

Rules for the quiz were as follows : There would be three rounds and the cumulative scores of all the rounds would be taken to decide the winning team. The questions not answered by a particular team would not be passed on to the next team, instead it would be asked to the audience, failing which the quiz master would give answer. There would be no negative marking. The decision of the quiz master was final.

For every session, there were three rounds, viz., clinical history, visual, and rapid-fire.

At the end of each session a suitable prize was given to a team scoring highest marks. A set of five one-best type of multiple choice questions was administered to all the students using an overhead projector. Each question carried 5 marks. Time allotted was 3 minutes and the maximum marks were 50.

The performance of the individual student was assessed by the total number of marks scored in the MCQs. Feedback was elicited by - asking questions such as (a) what factors facilitated learning? (b) what factors hindered learning? (c) which round was liked the most? and (d) suggestions or comments to improve the sessions.


Table I shows the winning teams and their scores. The overall performance was encouraging. Table II shows the scoring pattern for MCQs which were answered by all the students. The attendance was 76% and 86% respectively for the two sessions. Table III shows summary of the feed back of the students.

Table I : Results of the Competing Teams

Teams/Rounds Session I
Max 100
Session II
Max 100
Team A 80 75
Team B 60 80
Team C 80 85
Team D 85 80

Table II : Percentage of Marks Obtained in MCQ Round

Marks Obtained Session I
No. Students
Session II
No. Students
00-40 01 00
41-60 03 00
61-80 32 04
81-100 17 56
Total 53 60

Table III : Summary of The Feedback From The Students

Feedback on the Methodology Session I
Session II
Objectives: Very clear / Clear 52 59
Question Clarity: Very clear / Clear 51 57
Toughness of Questions: Very easy / Easy 46 52
Time Allotted: Sufficient 53 55
Comments on usefullness: Very useful/Useful 49 56
Comments on the Method: Very interesting 53 60
Quiz to be employed for other topics 18 26
Round liked the Most:
Visual 16 06
Exercise 07 05
Rapid fire 25 36
MCQ's 02 01
All 03 12


There are very few reports of using quiz as a method of teaching/learning for medical students. We provided opportunities for competition among teams selected from smaller batches of the whole class, as well as for evaluating each student by asking MCQs after the quiz. This approach ensured greater participation of the students in the teaching/learning process. In a study from Michigan, interactive video disc units were used for teaching pathology laboratory cases. Each of these units had case studies followed by a quiz. These units were extremely valuable supplemental tools for students6. In another study from Australia case study was used as a novel teaching/learning format. The learning experience consisted of quiz followed by a class discussion. This format was beneficial to both students and teacher. It also served as an additional teaching / learning method acceptable to the students7. Finley et al used quiz format for learning about auscultation of heart sounds through computer-based independent learning; which was compared with classroom teaching. Both CD-ROM and classroom teaching method were highly rated by the students8.


Quiz was used to teach Family Welfare and Demography to medical undergraduates successfully. The performance of the students and their participation were very much encouraging. The students found the quiz method to be very interesting and useful as a learning tool. Some of the students suggested that quiz should be employed to teach other topics also.


  1. National Health Policy, Government of India, New Delhi, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, 1983.
  2. Regulations on graduate medical education New Delhi, Medical Council of India, 1997.
  3. Rotti SB, Soudarssanane MB, Srinivasa DK, et al. A new approach in training preclinical medical undergraduates in Community Medicine, Medical Teacher 1992, 14; 379-81.
  4. Soudarssanane MB, Rotti SB, Premarajan KC. Teaching acute respiratory infection using low cost aids. An experience in Pondicherry, South India. Medical Teacher 1991, 13; 369-70.
  5. Soudarsannane MB, Rotti SB, Roy G, et al. Research as a tool to teach epidemiology. World Health Forum 1994, 15; 48-50.
  6. Kumar K, Khilnany M. Innovative interactive video disc units for teaching of pathology laboratory cases. Five years' experience. American Journal of Clinical Pathology 1994, 101; 665-70.
  7. Jamison JR. Innovation in educations: a case study of a novel teaching/learning format. Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics 1996, 19; 92-8.
  8. Finley JP, Sharrati GP, Nanton, et al. Ausucltation of the heart : a trial of classroom teaching versus computer-based independent learning. Medical Education 1998, 32; 357-61.
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