Do you catch up on valuable rest time once a week at your local journal club? Or doze while somebody presents an article that has been allocated to them, without reference to “question,” “search strategy,” or “assessing performance”? While the rest may bring health benefits, it is unlikely to advance the quality of care. Evidence-based journal clubs, however, have documented benefits.
Having made most possible “errors,” we’d like to share some tricks and traps that we think make evidence-based journal clubs work or not. We have gathered our information from personal experience, a systematic search of the literature, and stories told by colleagues and members of the evidence-based-healthcare mailing list (see acknowledgements). One of us (PG) runs an evidence-based journal club in general practice; the other (RSP) runs an evidence-based journal club in the paediatric department of a teaching hospital and facilitates journal club meetings for pharmacists. While running these disparate events, we, quite separately, stumbled on many of the same tricks and traps, many of which are supported by the findings of a large survey of the factors that predict the life span of (any) journal club.