Date of Award

Spring 2018

Degree Type



Educational Studies

Director of Thesis

Melanie Palomares, Ph.D

Second Reader

Graham L. Newman, J.D.


This senior thesis evaluates the Socratic method by comparing its original form, used by Socrates with students such as Meno, to its modern invocations in institutions such as law or medical school. In order to gauge the actual efficacy of the Socratic method in teaching logicality, which is the primary goal of Socratic dialogues, a pilot study was run. The results and implications of this study are embedded in the central portion of the thesis. The study found a statistically significant correlation between the amount of Socratic instruction a student had and that student's performance on a syllogistic reasoning task. Overall, this thesis was intended to start a conversation about how we teach educate our future lawyers. If the method were ineffective - or in this case, potentially not the most efficient method - then perhaps law schools should turn to other educational strategies. The final take away from this thesis is that the Socratic method is effective at its base level; however, educational institutions should, at least, begin using the method earlier on in a student's education (i.e., basic Socratic questioning in elementary school classrooms).

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