A journal club is a group of clinicians or health care professionals who regularly meet to critically evaluate scholarly articles. Journal clubs are a way to stay up to date with the literature in your field, bridge the divide between research and practice, and engage with colleagues. This guide includes information on managing a journal club and the Library resources that can assist you. Reach out to your colleagues if you're interested in joining or starting a journal club.
Journal clubs offer multiple benefits, including:
In this video, Professor Matthias Rillig explains how journal clubs benefit him and his team.
When setting up a journal club, it is important for your club to think about its purpose, goals, and outcomes as a group beforehand and come to a consensus.
Points to consider include:
Online vs. in person
Session Times and Length
The below journal club meeting checklist created by the Library offers additional guidance on setting up a meeting.
A journal club can take on, or combine, different formats. In the traditional journal club, a trainee or new clinician presents an article to the group, and the group discuss the results and findings. Senior clinicians or supervisors provide comments and feedback based on their clinical experience.
In the evidence-based journal club, articles are chosen based on clinical questions arising from clinical practice. Discussions include the critical appraisal of methodological aspects of the literature and whether the findings would impact or change clinical practice.
In a flipped format journal club, senior clinicians select a relevant clinical topic and a related key article. New clinicians and trainees then select an accompanying background paper and prepare an in-depth discussion prior to the meeting.
The below table from Stroke, outlines the disadvantages and advantages between different journal club formats.
|Traditional format||Keep up-to-date with recent literature||
||Quality of selected articles is inconsistent; audiences might be ill prepared and disengaged|
|Evidence-based format||Improve critique skills||Promote critical appraisal skills and research skills||Basic biostatistical and methodological knowledge is needed|
|Flipped format||Engage all learners||
||Spend more time on organizing and preparing|
|Virtual online format||Make the journal club more accessible||
||Interaction among attendees is limited|
From “How to Organize a Journal Club for Fellows and Residents,” by Xiong, L, Giese, A, Pasi, M, Charidimou, A, van Veluw, S & Viswanathan, A, 2018, Stroke, 49(9).
The goal of the presentation is not to provide a detailed description of the article. Depending on your journal club format, members of the group may have already read the article. Instead, the presentation should focus on highlighting the main points of the article, brining attention to the methodology, results, clinical applications, and relevancy to your group.
If you are using presentation slides, ensure that there isn't too much text in each slide and that it is a readable font size and style. Also ensure that you are not simply reading from the presentation slides.
Depending on your journal club, you may also have the opportunity to present in a creative fashion. Try using Prezi or Canva for eye catching presentation designs.
Monash Health Library runs a regular webinar on how to use Canva for visual design. See the webinar events calendar for more details.
Remember to rehearse your presentation. This ensures a smooth delivery of your speech, including timing, pacing, and pronunciation.
If you are presenting online, familarise yourself with the technology or platform the club uses ahead of time.
The below journal club presenter's checklist created by the Library offers additional guidance for presenters.
The below video from Dr. Farzana Hoque provides some tips and tricks for presenting at a journal club.
The Monash Health guide aims to help you to lead a journal club. It will introduce the principles of evidence-based practice and provide a foundation of understanding and skills in appraising the evidence for quality, reliability, accuracy and relevance. The following aspects of the appraisal of evidence will include:
Critical Appraisal Skills Program (UK)
The Critical Appraisals Skills Programme (CASP) provides training to clinicians in the UK about critically evaluating medical literature. CASP has developed a number of checklists for medical literature, based on study type.
Monash Health Library
Monash Health Library provides regular speciality webinar training on evidence-based practice and how to critically appraise medical literature. This training is an overview of the principles and practical skills you need with exercises using real clinical papers and checklists. This session covers:
The following resources provide tips for organising and presenting at journal clubs.
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