A new twist on the graduate student journal club: Using a topic-centered approach to promote student engagement


Diane Bimczok, John Graves


Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education


Journal clubs are widely used as an educational tool in graduate life science programs. In journal clubs, students are assigned to read specific journal articles to achieve a broad knowledge in their field of study and to gain competence in reading and assessing scientific publications. However, students often show low motivation to read assigned articles, and under?prepared students contribute little to in?class discussions. In order to promote student engagement in graduate?level journal clubs, we used an inverted, student?centered format that focuses on a scientific question or topic rather than specific publications. Both the weekly topics and the scientific publications were selected by the students and focused on aspects of the students' thesis research. For each weekly topic, students were asked to find papers, read the papers and summarize the findings during class, which led to the presentation of a variety of approaches and viewpoints. This approach trained students in literature search, focused reading and oral presentation skills and provided a broad overview of the research in the selected topic areas. Student feedback showed a high level of acceptance of the new format. We propose this inverted journal club format as a useful alternative to traditional formats, because it focuses on a different scientific skill set and leads to increased student engagement through its student?centered approach.



How is this information collected?

This collection of Montana State authored publications is collected by the Library to highlight the achievements of Montana State researchers and more fully understand the research output of the University. They use a number of resources to pull together as complete a list as possible and understand that there may be publications that are missed. If you note the omission of a current publication or want to know more about the collection and display of this information email Leila Sterman.