An assessment is made of the Galerkin technique as an effective method of solution for transient radiative transfer problems in participating media. A one-dimensional absorbing and isotropically scattering plane-parallel gray medium irradiated with a short-pulse laser on one of its boundaries is considered for the application of the method. The medium is non-emitting and the boundaries are non-reflecting and non-refracting. In the integral formulation of the problem for the source function, the time-wise variation of the radiation intensity at any point and in any direction in the medium is assumed to be the same as the time-wise variation of the average intensity at the same point as an approximation for the application of the method. The transient transmittance and reflectance of the medium are evaluated for various values of the optical thickness, scattering albedo and pulse duration. The results are in agreement with those available in the literature. It is demonstrated that the method is relatively simple to implement and yields accurate results. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.