Ten Steps to presenting an article at a Journal Club

I was preparing for my next journal club and it got me thinking, ‘Is there an efficient, effective way to present this month’s article to the group?’ I did a bit of searching and came across an article by Schwartz, Dowell, Aperi, and Kalet (2007) called Improving Journal Club Presentations, or, I Can Present That Paper In Under 10 Minutes and they recommend ten easy steps that I’ll summarise for you:

1. Describe the case or problem that attracted you to this paper

Start with a brief case presentation to explain how the article relates to real-life, and to make the presentation more of a ‘story’ for the audience.

2. Explain how you came across this article

Very briefly describe your search process.

3A. Describe the study

What type of question was asked? What type of study method was used? Where was the study done? Any other outstanding features?

3B. … and the research question

What was the research question or hypothesis? A well-built research question has four basic components:

· Population – who was studied?

· Intervention – what therapy, risk factor, tests, etc?

· Comparison / control – what alterative to the intervention?

· Outcome – clinical, functional, economic, etc?

4. State the importance / relevance / context of this question

Succinctly affirm what the importance of the study is.

5. Describe the methods by giving more detail on the question components

Give a bit more detail on the Population, Intervention, Comparison, and Outcomes from earlier.

6. State your answers to the critical appraisal questions on validity

Critically appraise the article’s validity. Consider issues like representation, allocation, and bias.

7. Summarise the primary results

Limit your summary to results of the primary question.

8. Describe why you think the results can or cannot be applied to your patients / situation

Think about the study’s external validity – can you apply the results in real-life? How much would you have to adjust the findings to apply the results?

9. Conclude with your own decision about the utility of the study in your practice – resolve the case or question with which you began

Return to the case presentation from your introduction and give your listeners a sense of closure.

10. Finally, prepare a 1-page summary of the outline above as a handout

Your summary will serve as your notes for the presentation, will guide the listener’s attention, and will serve as a record for your meeting.

I will be trying this out very shortly, and I’ll report back with how I go.

If you want to read it in full, the article is:

Schwartz, M.D., Dowell, D., Aperi, J., & Kalet, A.L. (2007) Improving Journal Club Presentations, or, I Can Present That Paper In Under 10 Minutes. Evidence-Based Medicine, 12, 66-68.

Just in case you hadn’t heard, British Psychological Society’s London and Home Counties Branch have an online Journal Club starting 15 March, 6-7pm, then 19 April, and 17 May. Each month we will read an article from one of the BPS Journals (freely available to all members) and then discuss it and its implications for psychology with other members and one of the article’s authors. For more details, click here (login to the BPS site required)

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