Questioning Style and Pimping in Clinical Education: A Quantitative Score Derived from a Survey of Internal Medicine Teaching Faculty

John W. McEvoy, John H. Shatzer, Sanjay V. Desai, Scott M. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Construct: Pimping is a controversial pedagogical technique in medicine, and there is a tension between pimping being considered as “value adding” in some circumstances versus always unacceptable. Consequently, faculty differ in their attitudes toward pimping, and such differences may be measurable and used to inform future research regarding the impact of pimping on learner outcomes. Background: Despite renewed attention in medical education on creating a supportive learning environment, there is a dearth of prior research on pimping. We sought to characterize faculty who are more aggressive in their questioning style (i.e., those with a “pimper” phenotype) from those who are less threatening. Approach: This study was conducted between December 2015 and September 2016 at Johns Hopkins University. We created a 13-item questionnaire assessing faculty perceptions on pimping as a pedagogical technique. We surveyed all medicine faculty (n = 150) who had attended on inpatient teaching services at two university-affiliated hospitals over the prior 2 years. Then, using responses to the faculty survey, we developed a numeric “pimping score” designed to characterize faculty into “pimper” (those with scores in the upper quartile of the range) and “nonpimper” phenotypes. Results: The response rate was 84%. Although almost half of the faculty reported that being pimped helped them in their own learning (45%), fewer reported that pimping was effective in their own teaching practice (20%). The pimping score was normally distributed across a range of 13–42, with a mean of 24 and a 75th percentile cutoff of 28 or greater. Younger faculty, male participants, specialists, and those reporting lower quality of life had higher pimping score values, all p <.05. Faculty who openly endorsed favorable views about the educational value of pimping had sevenfold higher odds of being characterized as “pimpers” using our numeric pimping score (p ≤.001). Conclusions: The establishment of a quantitative pimping score may have relevance for training programs concerned about the learning environment in clinical settings and may inform future research on the impact of pimping on learning outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-64
Number of pages12
JournalTeaching and Learning in Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • bedside teaching
  • faculty traits
  • pimping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


Dive into the research topics of 'Questioning Style and Pimping in Clinical Education: A Quantitative Score Derived from a Survey of Internal Medicine Teaching Faculty'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this