TODAY THE THESIS requirement in higher education is an accepted academic tradition. Despite an absence of controlled studies about its efficacy, few seem to take issue with its validity. In the medical school this "ultimate obstacle" has been distilled by many departments into a "term paper requirement." Not uniformly perceived as a relished opportunity by all medical students, here too, educational effectiveness has yet to be documented. The following report describes how in the Department of Pediatrics at the Ohio State University College of Medicine a long-standing term paper requirement was modified to accomplish specific objectives providing both subjective and objective evidence concerning the efficacy of modification. The techniques are seen as having somewhat broader implications.
In early 1950's, a number of pediatric departments began encouraging their students to seek out the overall impact of disease upon a child, his family, and his community. Concurrently, attempts to kindle in-depth