The Socratic Method in the Introductory PR Course: An Alternative Pedagogy

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Format of Original

8 p.

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Source Publication

Public Relations Review

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Original Item ID

doi: 10.1016/S0363-8111(02)00123-6


In the recent past several educators and practitioners have advocated the use of a Socratic dialogue or case method to teach public relations principles. Reported here are the results of an empirical study comparing student reactions to and perceptions of learning in introductory public relations courses using a traditional lecture format and a Socratic approach. The independent variables in this study are lecture and Socratic teaching methods. It was hypothesized that compared to students in a traditional course, students in the Socratic course would: (1) retain more factual information about public relations, (2) feel more confident in their knowledge and skills needed to work in public relations, (3) report more opportunity to practice critical thinking, (4) report more opportunity to practice problem solving skills, (5) report greater aspiration to work in public relations, and (6) report higher levels of course satisfaction.

For four of the six research questions examined, there were small differences between students who received traditional and Socratic instruction. These differences were in the direction expected but were not statistically significant. There were significant differences in the two groups showing that students who received the Socratic instruction reported more opportunities in practicing their critical thinking ability, and ability to solve practical public relations problems.


Public Relations Review, Vol. 28, No. 2 (June 2002): 167-174. DOI.