Impact of a medical journal club on house-staff reading habits, knowledge, and critical appraisal skills. A randomized control trial

JAMA. 1988 Nov 4;260(17):2537-41.


The journal club is an established teaching modality in many house-staff training programs. To determine if a journal club improves house-staff reading habits, knowledge of epidemiology and biostatistics, and critical appraisal skills, we randomized 44 medical interns to receive either a journal club or a control seminar series. A test instrument developed by the Delphi method was administered before and after the interventions (mean, five journal club sessions). By self-report, 86% of the house staff in the journal club group improved their reading habits vs 0% in the control group. Knowledge scores increased more in the journal club group than in the control group, and a trend was found toward more knowledge gained as more sessions were attended. Ability to appraise critically a test article increased slightly in each group, but there was no significant difference between the groups. We conclude that a journal club is a powerful motivator of critical house-staff reading behavior and can help teach epidemiology and biostatistics to physicians-in-training.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biometry
  • Delphi Technique
  • Educational Measurement
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Periodicals as Topic*
  • Random Allocation
  • Reading*
  • Teaching / methods*