Background: This research focuses on the relation between individual study
and group discussion. In a problem-based curriculum it is expected that the
way students prepare themselves during individual study (i.e., search and
prepare the literature) will influence the quality of the reporting phase.
Purpose: To investigate whether searching for different literature resource
s and preparing the literature (by making summaries to explain the literatu
re) affects the quality of the reporting phase.
Method: A 23-item questionnaire was developed, reflecting 2 factors of the
search phase and 1 factor of the preparing phase of the individual study..
Two factors (breadth and depth of the discussion) reflected the reporting p
hase. Participants were Ist-year students (N = 195, 90%) at the Medical Sch
ool of the Maastricht University in the Netherlands during the academic yea
Results: Regression analyses show that the search phase and the preparing p
hase explained 29% of the variance of the breadth and 38% of the depth of t
he reporting phase
Conclusions: Searching different literature resources has a small and negat
ive impact on the qualify of the reporting phase. However preparing extensi
vely for the next tutorial meeting is very important especially for the dep
th of the reporting phase. Therefore, when new knowledge must be integrated
in the tutorial group, students must be taught to prepare themselves by ma
king summaries that are useful and effective during the discussion.