Skip to main content


Establishing a journal club to promote professional development within a trials unit

Article metrics

Journal clubs provide an informal way of discussing research and how it applies to practice. We established a journal club within the Edinburgh Clinical Trials Unit to stimulate discussion of research around trial conduct and methodology and how research applied to staff within the unit. Our aims were to:

  • Support professional development

  • Keep up-to-date with the literature around clinical trial methodology

  • Disseminate information on and build up debate about good practice

  • Ensure that professional practice is evidence-based

  • Learn and practice critical appraisal skills

  • Develop ideas for research, descriptions of good practice within the unit that could be presented at meetings and/or submitted for publication

  • Provide an enjoyable educational and social occasion

The journal club is led by two trial managers and all staff are invited. Meetings are held monthly with a mix of discussions on published papers and presentations from the team.

We conducted an online survey to get feedback on our first year, and received 21 responses (18 completed and 3 not completed). The feedback was positive and there was general agreement that we had achieved our aims, in particular that journal club was an enjoyable educational and social occasion (100%) and helped disseminate information on and build up debate about good practice (94%).

In summary, journal club has been a positive initiative and has led to more discussion within the group on published research and how this applies to our practice.

Author information

Correspondence to Fiona Strachan.

Rights and permissions

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark


  • Public Health
  • Clinical Trial
  • Professional Development
  • Good Practice
  • Critical Appraisal


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate. Please note that comments may be removed without notice if they are flagged by another user or do not comply with our community guidelines.