Critical Incident Questionnaire

The following video is an assignment for my PIDP 3260 course at VCC.

It contains my reflections on the Critical Incident Questionnaire described by Dr. Brookfield in his book “The Skillful Teacher“.


In his book “The Skillful Teacher” Dr. Brookfield mentions his successful implementation of a Critical Incident Questionnaire CIQ. Early in his courses and throughout he gives his students a short questionnaire and asks them for feedback on the course and his delivery. He then uses this information to make changes where possible and tailor his course closer to the class.

His book lists numerous ways in which Dr. Brookfield uses the results of the survey and how the results help him being a more effective teacher.

Dr. Mary Ann Jacobs wrote a very interesting paper about a research project that proved that using a CIQ can increase performance and satisfaction for students in a course.

According to Dr. Jacobs, these “action research” methods were first explored by John Dewey and Kurt Lewin.

Best Practices

To make the CIQ effective, the following best practices need to be observed:

  • The questionnaires could be personalized but I think the answers will be more honest if the answers are anonymous.
  • To increase participation, the questionnaire should be short
  • As soon as possible the results of the surveys should be discussed with the class
  • The changes should be discussed and implemented as soon as possible
  • If the suggested changes can not be made, the reasons should be explained to the adult learners


  • It empowers students to be involved in their learning
  • It allows the instructor to make possible changes quickly
  • It encourages students to be more engaged
  • It has proven, positive results for the performance of the students


  • It adds another task to the students’ and instructors’ workload
  • If the questionnaire responses are not anonymous, the feedback can lack honesty
  • If it takes too long to answer the questions, participation rates will decline

Dr. Jacob’s study found that the handwriting of the participants was an obstacle in efficiently analyzing the results. This can be eliminated by assigning the CIQ as an online form.

Like many of Dr. Brookfield’s methods and experiences in his book, using a Critical Incident Questionnaire and implementing changes during the course is very inspiring to me.

I like the idea of empowering my students to take charge of their learning and showing them how critical thinking and feedback can affect positive change.

Sharing is caring ❤️
Scroll to Top