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Starting A Journal Club: Developing a journal club

How to plan for a successful journal club

To give your journal club the best chance of success and survival there are a number of points you should consider in the initial stages.

1. Nominate a Journal Club Champion.

A journal club champion needs to be motivated with a keen interest in encouraging their peers to participate. The role of the champion is to organise each meeting and arrange for someone to 'Chair' or 'Present' at the meeting. Nominating a different presenter for each journal club session ensures the role is shared and encourages all staff to become involved.

2. Define the scope for the journal club

It may be helpful to consider the following and communicate this with your team from the beginning.

Aim Clearly define what your work area hopes to achieve through the implementation of the Journal Club.
Regularly scheduled meetings Decide how often you will hold your meetings and pre-book your meeting space to ensure you can hold your meetings at the agreed times. e.g. consider monthly as this is gives the next presenter time to think about their presentation and prepare.
Mandatory attendance Making attendance mandatory lets staff know this is an expectation and the work area is supportive and encouraging of professional development opportunities.
Appropriate setting and allocated time If possible meet in a location where there will not be interruptions at a regular date and time.
Who will circulate the content Nominate a person who will be responsible for circulating the next article being appraised, making sure all staff receive their copy with ample time to read, appraise and prepare for the session.
Roster for who will present Make a roster where all staff can nominate themselves for a session. Display this roster in an appropriate place where all staff can see the upcoming session.
Ideas for topics Contact the Library for assistance with accessing topics of interest, latest research and trends in your discipline.

3. Approach the Library to assist with article selection

The library can support your journal club by providing access to evidence based resources. Our librarians can assist with finding relevant literature suitable for appraisal or we can assist you in setting up journal alerts so when new research is published on a topic an email notification is sent.

The library may also support your journal club by assisting staff with preparing their presentation. We have a PowerPoint template available for staff to use as a guide and we can also provide information regarding appropriate critical appraisal tools to use for the article chosen. 

To request assistance with supporting your journal club please email here.

4. Critically appraise the article

We have a library help guide outlining the basics of EBP along with links to useful library resources on the topic. Some of the following points can be considered when undertaking critical appraisal:

  • the appropriateness of the research design
  • the way the study was conducted
  • the results of the study
  • the applicability of the findings to practice
  • any lessons learnt from the study
  • any possible gaps in knowledge

5. Create your Presentation

The presentation should be a short visual outline that encourages discussion among the attendees.  A PowerPoint presentation can be a perfect way to put forward the information to be discussed during the session. To see an example of a journal club presentation click here.

The presenter should not be the main speaker for the whole session - the aim is to lead the discussion, encouraging analysis and synthesis of ideas from the participants.

6. Market and promote the journal club - email, flyers

Circulate a flyer or email to promote the journal club giving everyone ample notice of the upcoming meeting. A reminder or follow up may be required at the beginning to make sure that everyone attends.

7. Hold the first meeting and conduct an evaluation of the session.

Once the journal club has met it may be useful to conduct an evaluation of how things went. This could be a simple questionnaire handed to all participants at the end of the session, or as informal as asking for verbal feedback. Conducting an evaluation will assist in refining any aspects of the session that may need tweaking.