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HS Journal Club Assignment Guide: Understanding the PPC II Rubric

This guide is focused on the journal club presentation assignment in the EBM I and II courses.


  • Because it is a Zoom session, we will not require students to wear white coats and ID badges, Students are required to wear semi-professional attire. 
  • PPC II students: A video example of a P4 giving a journal club can be found in the PPC II CANVAS site (see April 18, 2024). She also has a second video explaining how she made decisions about how to do her presentation. She also provided an example of a handout. Please note handouts are optional.

Understanding the Article's Statistics


  • Group members introduce themselves.
  • States the title, journal of publication and author affiliations (if relevant)
    • Consider the quality of the journal and the authors' qualifications.
    • Web of Science can provide information about the journal's impact factor and the number of times an article has been cited. Remember article citation numbers increase as the article ages. An article may be cited because of the quality of the article or because it is poor quality or controversial. See the library staff for help accessing this information.
  • Background information from the article was succinctly presented
    • Consider what background information the audience needs to follow the presentation.
    • Why did the authors believe this research is needed?
    • Provide basic background information on the disease/condition/issue and the drugs/treatments/programs.
  • Other literature (e.g., previous articles, guidelines, etc.) was discussed in context of the article being presented
    • Are there other studies on this topic? Search PubMed to determine the novelty of the topic and if other researchers have found similar results. Look at the abstracts. Are there other studies who have found similar results?
    • Are there clinical guidelines on the topic? What do they recommend?
  • The study objective(s) was/were clearly stated
    • List the objectives.
    • Are the objectives clear? Can they be answered by the study's methods?
    • Was an hypothesis given? If yes, what was it?
  • The study’s sponsor and their role are identified (If applicable)
    • Name the funding sources. What are their roles in the conduction of the experiment, the analysis of of the data, and the writing of the article. What is the risk of bias from the study funders? Do the authors have any conflicts of interest which could introduce bias?


  • The study design (e.g. randomized controlled, cohort, case-control, etc.) was clearly and concisely described
    • State the study design.
    • State if there was blinding. If there was blinding, what type of blinding was used?
    • If it is a drug clinical trial, what phase is the trial? Think about what questions could be answered with that phase study.
  • The study intervention was clearly and concisely described
    • Describe the intervention. Describe the comparison.
    • If a drug is the intervention or the comparison, state the dosages of the medication used.
  • The study population was characterized
    • Describe the participants in the study. How do the two or more groups differ from one another?
  • Relevant inclusion/exclusion criteria were presented
    • List the criteria that determined who could participate in the study.
  • The primary (and secondary where applicable) outcomes/endpoints were presented
    • Provide all primary outcomes/endpoints.
    • Provide secondary outcomes. If they are numerous, what are important outcomes?
    • Remember not all studies have secondary outcomes.
    • A study may also sometimes have primary, secondary, and tertiary outcomes.
  • An accurate summary of the statistics was given
    • List the statistical tests that were utilized in the study.
  • Appropriateness (or lack thereof) of the statistical tests used was vocalized by the presenter
    • Do the statistical tests seem appropriate for the clinical/research question being used?
    • Think about the type(s) of data (nominal, ordinal, interval). Were the statistical tests chosen by the authors appropriate this type of data?


  • Baseline characteristics of the study population were discussed
    • Randomized control trials usually have a table providing baseline characteristics comparing the treatment groups to the control group. Are there any statistically different differences between the groups (intervenion(s) and control(s))? Are there differences between the groups beyond the intervention? Have the authors checked to see if other demographic differences, diseases, medications, etc. could possibly influence the results seen in the intervention and control groups?
  • The primary (and secondary where applicable) results were presented
    • Primary outcomes/endpoints must be provided.
    • Secondary outcomes/endpoints should also be discussed. Studies do not always provide secondary outcomes.
  • The statistical significance (or lack thereof) of the results was noted
    • Discuss p-values if provided for primary and secondary outcomes.
    • Sometimes confidence intervals are provided instead of p-values. Discuss the confidence intervals provided in the results. What information can by provided by confidence intervals that can't be provided by p-values?
  • The clinical significance (or lack thereof) of the results was noted
    • Remember statistical significance does not guarantee clinical significance.
    • Do you believe that the results of the study would lead to better patient care?
    • Is the effect size of the results large enough to make a difference in clinical care?


  • The author(s) conclusion(s) were presented
    • This information should be provided in the article.
  • Strengths and limitations as noted by the authors was presented
    • This information should be provided in the article.
  • Strengths and limitations identified by the student (aside from the authors) were presented
    • What additional strengths and weaknesses should be discussed in the article? Are there possible author biases or conflicts of interests that should be discussed?
    • Think about the PPICO components and the research design? Were they chosen appropriately to answer the article's clinical question?
  • The students conclusion(s) were presented
    • These conclusions should go beyond the conclusions presented by the authors.
  • How the trial may or may not impact clinical practice was presented
    • How could/should this study be applied to patient care?
    • Is the research relevant to a general or specific patient population?

Rest of the Rubric

  • Ability to answer questions section of the rubric
    • You should be able to answer questions about the entire article not just the section that you presented.
    • You will be expected to ask questions to the other group in your small group room after they present.
  • Professional Conduct section of the rubric
    • You must be ready to present at the beginning of the session. This includes being in professional attire and wearing your white coat and name badge.
    • Points lost on this section of the rubric may lead to meetings of individual students or the group with the course directors.
    • Unprofessional behavior can lead to an assignment failure. The group will have give a second presentation to the course directors to pass the assignment.
  • Professional Conduct section of the rubric  (Zoom version for Spring 2021)
    • You are not required to wear your white coat and ID badge for Zoom sessions.
    • Semi-professional attire will be required.
    • Teamwork skills will be included.
    • Respect for presenters and other students will also be included.

Retake the Assignment

  • Groups who fail the assignment will need to give a second presentation to the course directors. You will receive the grade for the second presentation as your final assignment grade. You must pass the assignment to the course.