Journal Clubs

Roles and structures to make them effective

Four times over the course of Joint Advanced Seminar 2 (JAS 2), Fellows run journal clubs to enhance skills in presenting and discussing journal articles. Each journal club session is observed and evaluated by a facilitator.

Objectives

Through participating in a journal club, Fellows:

  • become familiar with how to participate in and organise a journal club
  • develop their ability to critically read and discuss a paper
  • learn how to present a ten-minute overview of a journal article
  • acquire skills in peer review and discussion

Preparation

  • Fellows consult the rota/ schedule to find out which papers they should read, the date for each session and the role they will undertake (chair, presenter or discussant)
  • Each Fellow must read the papers for discussion before attending the group

Procedure

During the session (85 minutes):

  • The designated chair, presenter and discussant arrive early to arrange the room in an appropriate format for group discussion
  • The chair will keep time and moderate the discussion, shifting through presenter, discussant and other fellows for comments and questions
  • The presenter has a maximum of ten minutes to present the paper (without powerpoint slides)
  • The discussant takes up to ten minutes to present their critique of the paper (again, without powerpoint slides), stimulating discussion by highlighting areas of uncertainty or concern about the paper
  • After 45 minutes, the facilitator gives comments to the group to steer the conversation and highlight any key points that the discussion has missed

The facilitator provides overall feedback on the journal club and suggestions for improvement. They may comment on:

  • Room layout – whether the room was set up to allow for everyone to have eye contact
  • Time keeping – whether the journal club started and finished on time and if presenter and discussants kept to time
  • Clarity – whether the presenter gave a clear and accurate description of the paper and provided appropriate background information
  • Feedback – whether the discussant understood what points to critique and stimulated discussion
  • Participation – whether everyone in the room contributed to the discussion

Later

Participation in journal clubs is one of the elements on which Fellows are evaluated. Each receives a grade between 1 and 10.