Preparing for Journal Club

Reading the literature is one of the most important things we do! Journal Club provides a format for us to keep up on the literature, engage with ideas as a group, and learn how to assess experiments, data, and interpretation. To make the most out of our Journal Club, the Fritz-Laylin lab has assembled a series of questions to ask ourselves as we read a paper. We thought others might find them useful as well:

1. What is the question the authors are trying to answer? (This is by far the most important piece to understand about a paper!)

2. What methods are being used to answer this question?

3. How is the data being analyzed? Are the authors excluding any data? Why?

4. In your opinion, did the authors answer the question they set out to answer? If not, why not?

5. What was good about the paper (science, interpretation, data)?

6. In what way (s) could the paper be improved?

7. If you were going to use this as a jumping off point for your own project, what would you do next?

8. If you could ask the authors one question, what would it be?

If you answer each of these questions thoughtfully (and hopefully in a way you would be happy to share with the authors over a cup of coffee), congrats! You are basically doing peer-review.