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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 109-110

Exploring the Scope of Introducing Buzz Group in Teaching Community Medicine to Undergraduate Medical Students

1 Vice Principal Curriculum, Member of the Medical Education Unit & Medical Research Unit, Department of Community Medicine, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication28-Aug-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
3rd Floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College & Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur-Guduvanchery Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram 603108, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/mamcjms.mamcjms_30_18

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Exploring the Scope of Introducing Buzz Group in Teaching Community Medicine to Undergraduate Medical Students. MAMC J Med Sci 2018;4:109-10

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Exploring the Scope of Introducing Buzz Group in Teaching Community Medicine to Undergraduate Medical Students. MAMC J Med Sci [serial online] 2018 [cited 2022 Oct 3];4:109-10. Available from: https://www.mamcjms.in/text.asp?2018/4/2/109/240002


Buzz group is a method to facilitate small group teaching, usually comprising of three to four members, but the upper limit can go up to 15, and are given a chance to discuss about a specific topic for a defined time limit.[1] This discussion is followed by the presentation of their discussion findings to the large group (as a plenary session) for further discussion.[1] Buzz group is quite a simple and yet effective tool to ensure that students develop interest/involvement in the ongoing topic, and simultaneously, the issue of the monotonous lecture can be neutralized.[2]

Moreover, from the teacher’s perspective, conduction of buzz groups gives them an opportunity to ascertain to what extent students are well-versed with the topic.[1] On the similar line, for the benefit of students, buzz groups give them a scope to assess their level of understanding about any topic.[1],[3] Buzz groups can be used as a part of lecture class, to increase the effectiveness of the method, and allows the teachers to obtain feedback from the students, provides a good platform for the students to reflect upon their learning, and even enables an association between different concepts or ideas.[1],[2],[3]

This method can be adopted by any of the participants to ensure that the small group teaching remains interactive. However, for teaching the topics in the subject of community medicine, buzz group method can play an effective role, not only because of the limited attention span of the students, but also because of the challenging time slot (viz., in most of the medical colleges, community medicine theory sessions are in the post-lunch session) and the dry and volatile nature of the subject.[1],[2],[3]

However, to incorporate a buzz group in teaching community medicine, due consideration should be given to following aspects. First of all, the selection of the topic on which the facilitator wants to have a buzz group, especially whether it will be of use to the students (in terms of improving their knowledge and skills) and for the teachers (in terms of attaining the specific learning objectives). Then, the purpose of the buzz group has to be defined well in advance like whether it will be used as a set induction or during the class (to reduce monotony) or at the end (as a part of debriefing or summarizing).[1],[2],[3]

In addition, decisions have to be taken about whether a single topic is given to all or different topics to different groups to avoid repetition, deciding about the number of groups and the number of members in each group, specifying the time limit for the discussion, number of buzz groups in a single session, and specify the approach of presentation of each small group discussion in the large groups (viz., all points of discussion by a single group at once or one-one point by each group in rotation), so that each group gets a chance to express their opinion and are not left in a situation, wherein they have nothing extra to share.[1],[2],[3]

In general, buzz groups have the merit that they provide a chance for all the members to express their opinion and so participation is ensured; the concerns of fear, shyness, and reluctance can be negated as they are talking within themselves; the students can be exposed to real-life scenarios, wherein they have to listen to the opinion of others before taking a decision, and that controversial issue can be discussed. However, the overall output of the discussion in buzz groups can decrease significantly, if some of the members of a particular group are unwilling to participate in the discussion. Moreover, it may not be an ideal method to promote discussion among those members, who know each other pretty well, as each one of them might not consider others opinion into consideration. In addition, it should not be used too often within a single session, as it might appear boring to the students. The buzz group sessions can be evaluated through a checklist for assessing their effectiveness.[1],[2],[3]

To conclude, buzz group is an effective method of teaching medical undergraduate students, and it should be employed in teaching community medicine to complement other forms of teaching–learning.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Arivananthan M. Buzz groups—Mini-discussions in plenary. 2015. Available from: https://www.unicef.org/knowledge-exchange/files/Buzz_Groups_production.pdf. [Last accessed 2018 Jun 23].  Back to cited text no. 1
Balslev T, Rasmussen AB, Skajaa T, Nielsen JP, Muijtjens A, De Grave W et al. Combining bimodal presentation schemes and buzz groups improves clinical reasoning and learning at morning report. Med Teach 2015;37:759-66.  Back to cited text no. 2
Abbasi F, Mofrad MN, Borhani F, Nasiri M. Evaluation of the effect of training by buzz group method on nursing diagnostic skills of nursing students. Res J Pharm Tech 2017;10:213-8.  Back to cited text no. 3


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