Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Excuses and Delays

Yesterday my first PhD student’s comprehensive exam kept me from blogging (she passed, of course), and today I must finish a journal club presentation. Journal club sounds like it might be some sort of fun, exclusive activity for which you wait in line; if you aren’t dressed correctly, the boPhotoxpress_5528831uncer may not let you participate.

Of course, I would be dressed correctly for any occasion!

In reality, journal club provides an important piece of biomedical training, honing skills in critical appraisal of the literature. Participants (me, this time around) select an article to critique.

The process proceeds similar to manuscript review. We discuss the experimental question, the methods used to collect and analyze the data, the interpretation of the data, and how it all fits together with everything else we know. For established physician-scientists such as myself, journal club is a good way to review a topic and discover something new. For trainees, critiquing studies helps develop a sense of “the way things are done.” Science and medicine, especially when written, have their own language and conventions. Learning how to fit into this culture is part of the training- along with learning how to conduct and critique research. Oh, and picking up a bunch of facts as well.

Tomorrow I will provide a brief post on my article.

Image courtesy of PhotoXpress.

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