Types of Group Discussions
Although the topics for Group Discussions can show high variation but on the basis of structure the Group Discussions can be broadly divided into two categories. These categories are:
- Topic-based Group Discussions
- Case/Article based Group Discussions
Topic based Group Discussions
In the topic-based Group Discussions, the group member discusses a topic that is typically in the form of a statement or an idea. By the end of the discussion, the group should strive to arrive at a consensus-on the issue or the solutions that are required by the moderators. The topics of the this category can be further sub divided into three sub categories i.e.:
- Current Topics
- Argumentative Topics
- Abstract Topics
The following are the details of these sub categories:
These are the topics which are based upon the current happenings in the world. These are the kind of topics where knowledge would play important role vis-a-vis the creativity of the aspirants. In such topics you one must some prior knowledge about the topic to be able to speak on the topic.
The current topics can be from from any of the following areas:
- International Affairs
The topics from the above areas are generally those which were in news in the recent past. Thus a candidate of ordinary intelligence having normal awareness and sensetive about the current happenings would be famalier with such topics. Typically these are related to the socio-economic and political milieu prevailing around us.
The knowledge, analytical skills as well as critical thinking are the most important attributes that can help an aspirant to score higher is topics.
- Indo US relation: The changing paradigms
- Justice much reach to the poor
- Ramification of corruption on Indian society
These topics are one which are controversial in nature. These are the topics wherein the individuals would have different set of opinions and perceptions about the topic. These topics are generally given to create difference in opinion among the aspirants. Thus in these kind of topics apart from the aptitude the emotional intelligence and conflict solving abilities of the aspirants are also judged. The extent of openess to the divergent ideas is also evaluated in these kind of topics.
Apart from the knowledge and analytical skills, the logical flow of thoughts and ability to influence group behaviour are crucial attributes to score high in such kind of topics.
- Should reservation be extended to the Private Sector?
- FDI in Retail will destroy Indian Economy
- Are female managers better than the males?
Abstract topics are not related to any particular subject. Unlike the first two sub categories knowledge plays a very limited role to discuss such topics. These topics are generally open ended and give full scope to aspirants to apply their common sense, imagination and lateral thinking. Discussion of these topics can be very nebulous. Sometimes candidates feel that the topic is very simple but as the discussion progresses the participants find it difficult to discuss. On the other hand, at times the topic looks very difficult but the discussion proceeds smoothly. By nature abstract topics lend themselves to varied and widespread discussion. However participants who make the grade in such GDs are the ones who set clear boundaries as to what needs to be discussed. Abstract topics can be best discussed using appropriate examplification.
- Twinkle Twinkle little star
- An Elephant
Case/Article Based Group Discussion
In case studies, a short description of a situation (called a case") is given to all the participants. The case will typically be a problem situation that requires a solution. The participants have to study the case, analyze the problem and then discuss their views about the possible solution to the problem with the other members of the group
It is important to read the case very carefully and aspirants must not miss even the slightest detail as every single detail can be crucial for giving solutions.
The sloutions given by the aspirants must be sound holistic, credible, feasible and real. The solutions must incorporate the interests and needs of all the stakeholders mentioned in the case.
Till CAT 2003. the IIMs were using either topic based or case-Based Group Discussions. CAT 2004 saw students who received calls from IlM K being given recent articles of topical interest that had appeared in newspapers and magzines. These articles covered a wide range of areas right from current affairs, politics, economics, technology, etc. The participants in the GD were given 4 to 5 minutes to read the article and were then asked to have a regular Group Discussion of around 10-15 minutes on the article.