Introduction to a Journal Club: Editor's perspective


Maria Villarreal



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WikiDoc /PERFUSE Journal Club



Journal clubs are educational interventions that can improve reading habits, knowledge of clinical epidemiology and biostatistics, and the use of medical literature in clinical practice for postgraduate physicians in training.


Every two weeks (Tuesday), each WikiDoc Scholar/PERFUSE fellow will be responsible for presenting ONE Evidence-Based Medicine Journal Club meeting (~1 hour) on a topic related to internal medicine, Cardiology or other subspecialties (or the area he/she is currently working on). Fellows can choose to enroll into this club as an optional learning session but not as a mandatory activity.


Since most WikiDoc and PERFUSE fellows pursue medical training programs or medical education training. This practice will provide insights about a common practice, as training resident, more importantly these sessions will enable the scholars to develop important editor reviewing skills useful for WikiDoc quality.  This experience fulfils several goals of the research curriculum such that at its conclusion each fellow will be able to:


1. Conduct structured critical appraisal

2. Understand the limitations of the application of evidence

3. Recognize and understand basic study design, distinguishing weak from strong


4. Gain familiarity with basic statistical tests

5. Gain insight into a specific clinical problem

6. Hone skills related to oral and written presentations



Presenting Scholar


You will be assigned an article, a date and a preceptor. Except under extraordinary circumstances, these will not be changed. Any problems with either assignment (article, date or preceptor) should be brought to the attention of the Deputy editor of WikiDoc or senior scholar as early as possible. The primary responsibility for the WikiDoc Journal Club rests with the presenting scholar and the preceptor.




1. You will be assigned (or self-select) a primary article and a faculty member will review this prior to the biweekly meeting.






Presentation  (See criteria for articles below).


Each presentation should be 15-20 minute long and 20-30 minutes will be allowed for discussion. 


2.  Once you have read and reviewed the article, ensure that the article is distributed

to all the participating members at least a week prior to the date of your presentation. This can be done electronically via email to the BIDMC/WikiDoc email. (PDF's are preferred)


3. ( OPTIONAL) Pick 1-3 supporting articles to go with the primary article. Supporting articles might include up-to-date reviews, classic articles on the subject or studies that support or refute the results of the primary article.


4. Read the article and decide what type it is (Therapy or Harm, Prognosis, Diagnosis, Symptom prevalence, Economic or Decision Analysis). Most articles will fall into the first three categories, if not discuss what type of study you are working on or ask for advice before.  Prepared worksheets will be designed and distributed to analyze and evaluate the article content.


5. Develop your presentation and produce a final critique (short, follow the review style, your opinion, it should be relaxed and a friendly scientific environment  - we are all here to learn!)




A recent systematic review identified 3 "best practices" for journal clubs:


(1) Use of a structured checklist (see below)

(2) Explicit written learning objectives

(3) A formalized meeting structure and process.


Articles will be selected by the Program Director and will comprise core internal medicine OR Cardiology articles published within the prior 2 years from one of the most frequently cited medicine journals: Annals of Internal Medicine, BMJ, JAMA, The Lancet, and the New England Journal of Medicine, Circulation etc.


Relevant articles from internal medicine subspecialties may be chosen from the respective literature when the contribution to general medicine practice is beneficial. The articles chosen should provide a level of evidence of grade 1a or 1b  ( see )


** Letters to the editor, and other types of documents are also allowed; as long as they provide a good discussion, anything is valid.


Article Review Format

Typically, review of the article will address the following domains:

  1. Issues addressed by the article—What is the research question? Why does it matter? How does it fit with what already is known? How can it help solve important problems for practice or policy?
  2. Design of the study—Is the study design appropriate for the question and what already is known about the question?
  3. Study methods—To what degree can the findings be accounted for by:
    • How participants were selected?
    • How key variables were defined and measured?
    • Confounding (false attribution of causality because two variables
    • discovered to be associated actually are associated with a third factor)?
    • How information was interpreted?
    • Chance (as indicated by inferential statistics)?
  4. Main findings—Does this study advance current knowledge? What do we know already?
  5. Generalizability—How transportable are the findings to other settings, particularly to our practice and community?
  6. Constituencies—Who are the constituencies for the findings, including patients, and how might they be engaged in interpreting or using the findings?
  7. Next steps/new questions—What are the next steps in interpreting or applying the findings? What new questions arise and how might they be best answered.


*** PPT should be 7 slides to max 10 slides long***

A single slide for every of the previously mentioned domains


Attendance and enrollment


  1. A Google form link will be shared called Journal Club Meeting  
  2. Participants may enroll trough this link  (every session).
  3. On the first session of the Journal meeting - a basic evaluation about current knowledge in principal clinical research concepts will be performed. The idea of this concept is to reinforce these terms in our meetings and make sure that everyone involved learns from a rich scientific discussion.  Everyone is invited to join.
  4. All participants are invited to give feedback to the club to improve it.  This way an OPTIONAL link for your comments and opinions to improve will be more than welcome.


Example  -  Calendar 




Article name



Your name 

“ ABCDE “ by John Smith



































Journal Club Meeting program (Example)


First session: 


Our first session would be an example seminar for a Journal Club meeting

Objective: Discuss all the previously mentioned points, and address doubts and questions from the participants. 


Senior fellows or scholars with more research background would provide the subsequent sessions.  However, if a participant is very eager to give a session (on an article, he/she has been working on, they can ultimately do so)


Ideally, everyone in the meeting should have an assigned role this will engage participation and commitment. However this is not necessary. Roles can be divided: supportive/ not supportive to the author.


Resources  (Under construction…)


How to read a paper?




Course content

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