Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Process factors facilitating and inhibiting medical ethics teaching in small groups
  1. Miriam Ethel Bentwich1,
  2. Ya'arit Bokek-Cohen2
  1. 1 Faculty of Medicine, Bar-Ilan University, Safed, Israel
  2. 2 Achva Academic College, Arugot and Bar-Ilan University, Israel
  1. Correspondence to Dr Miriam Ethel Bentwich, Faculty of Medicine, Bar-Ilan University, PO Box 1589, Safed 120000, Israel; Miriam.Bentwich{at}


Purpose To examine process factors that either facilitate or inhibit learning medical ethics during case-based learning.

Methods A qualitative research approach using microanalysis of transcribed videotaped discussions of three consecutive small-group learning (SGL) sessions on medical ethics teaching (MET) for three groups, each with 10 students.

Results This research effort revealed 12 themes of learning strategies, divided into 6 coping and 6 evasive strategies. Cognitive-based strategies were found to relate to Kamin's model of critical thinking in medical education, thereby supporting our distinction between the themes of coping and evasive strategies. The findings also showed that cognitive efforts as well as emotional strategies are involved in discussions of ethical dilemmas. Based on Kamin's model and the constructivist learning theory, an examination of the different themes within the two learning strategies—coping and evasive—revealed that these strategies may be understood as corresponding to process factors either facilitating or inhibiting MET in SGL, respectively.

Conclusions Our classification offers a more nuanced observation, specifically geared to pinpointing the desired and less desired process factors in the learning involved in MET in the SGL environment. Two key advantages of this observation are: (1) it brings to the forefront process factors that may inhibit and not merely facilitate MET in SGL and (2) it acknowledges the existence of emotional and not just cognitive process factors. Further enhancement of MET in SGL may thus be achieved based on these observations.

  • Education for Health Care Professionals
  • Ethics

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors MEB contributed substantially to the design of the work and the acquisition of data. Both authors contributed substantially to analysis of the data, drafting and revisions of the paper/manuscript and approve the version to be published, agreeing to be accountable for all aspects of the work.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Research Ethics Committee, Faculty of Medicine, Bar-Ilan University.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Other content recommended for you