Published: 03-08-2021 09:48 | Updated: 16-09-2021 11:15

Virtual Journal Club


For PhD students it is fundamental to improve their reading skills and gain practice in critiquing and appraising research. One common method used for enhancing skills in interpreting research data is participating in journal clubs. Virtual journal clubs can be a safe space where PhD students can improve their presentation and communication skills, they can expand their professional network and practice the skills of interpreting research data.

The club may serve to connect researchers and students, especially benefitting those practitioners that have few local peers. Connecting with peers globally via online journal clubs is a natural evolution in today’s world of medical education, one that will accelerate knowledge translation and become an increasingly important tool in continuing medical education and research.


A group of PhD students will meet virtually on Zoom to discuss manuscript drafts, study designs and choice of methods (quantitative and qualitative), within health science literature. The virtual format provides a nonthreatening environment and allows PhD students to engage with PhD students conducting research or studies locally as well as abroad. To encourage active participation, the lead person presenting will be different at each time. The leader may develop a PowerPoint presentation to provide a visual approach to learning and discussion. The facilitator, Dr. Marlene Makenzius, a senior researcher, will provide guidelines for the paper being reviewed and for what is expected of the presenter and the attendees.

Manuscripts to be discussed

The participants will share and discuss their manuscripts - MS (in draft, in plan or published) within the group, within the field of public (global) health-, health care-, medical-, and caring sciences. The fellow candidates will critically appraise the MS/plan to strengthen the quality of the work. KI as for other higher education institutions shall promote sustainable development to assure for present and future generations a sound and healthy environment, economic and social welfare, and justice. We therefore encourage discussions about sustainable development, how it can relate to the MS/plan. Specific guidelines will be decided on at the first meeting (adapt to the participants research areas and expectations). The call can be interpreted as that every student during their education future professional role. Education for sustainable development is much more than just learning about the content of the SGDs and is thus rather about preparing today's students.

Discussion points:

o Relevance of the article, and does it deal with unresolved and complex social, political, economic and environmental challenges?

o Is the purpose clearly stated? What is the research question and/or hypothesis?

o What is the study design and method? Could another design and method be used?

o How was the sample drawn? Inclusion and exclusion criteria?

o Do the quantitative statistical tests, or the qualitative data analysis answer the research question?

o Was the interpretation of the result appropriately done?

o Are strengths and limitations discussed, could some more be added?

o Does the result/conclusion relate to the aim and research question?


Oliphant, Raymond; Blackhall, Vivienne ; Moug, Susan ; Finn, Patrick ; Vella, Mark ; Renwick, Andrew. Early experience of virtual journal clubs. Clinical Teacher, December 2015, Vol.12(6), pp.389-393.

Aim of the activity

To promote development of critical appraisal skills among PhD and postdoctoral students. General learning outcomes:

The candidate shall demonstrate:

1. 1. familiarity with research methodology in general and the methods of the specific field of research in particular,

2. 2. the ability to identify and formulate issues with scholarly precision critically, autonomously and creatively, and to plan and use appropriate methods to undertake research and other qualified tasks within predetermined time frames and to review and evaluate such work, and

3. 3. the ability to make assessments of research ethics.

Activity leader

Marlene Makenzius, senior researcher in global public health


Monday evenings 18:00-19:30, 20/9, 27/9, 4/10, 11/10, 18/10



An invitation will be sent to registered participants shortly before the start of the activity.


Please enroll here by September 15, 2020. The course is now full so we are closing the registration.  

Questions? For questions related to the activity itself, please contact the activity leader, Marlene Makenzius, at:

For questions related to the registration, please contact


Marlene Makenzius Affiliated to Research