Effectiveness of Journal Club Activities Versus Clinical Debate Activities in Pharmacy Experiential Education

Taylor Steuber, Alex N. Isaacs, Meredith L. Howard, Sarah A. Nisly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective. Within pharmacy experiential education, practicing literature evaluation skills usually occurs via journal clubs. Clinical debates have gained traction as an engaging alternative to journal club meetings while completing advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPEs). The purpose of this study was to compare clinical knowledge and literature evaluation application between journal clubs and clinical debates duringAPPEs. Methods. This mixed-methods prospective study was conducted in fourth year pharmacy students completing inpatient general medicine APPEs at four institutions. Students participated in a journal club and clinical debate during their experience. Students completed a 10-item knowledge assessment after each activity. Differences in journal club and clinical debate assessment scores were analyzed. Following completion of both activities, a perception survey was administered to gauge preferences and opinions. Differences in perception survey scores for journal clubs compared to clinical debates were evaluated quantitatively, and a thematic analysis was completed for qualitative responses. Results. Fifty students participated in both activities. There were no differences between journal club and clinical debate assessment scores (57.4%621.0% and 62.9%620.7%, respectively). Forty students completed the post-perceptions survey and globally agreed or strongly agreed that both journal clubs and clinical debates improved confidence in literature evaluation and clinical skills. Common themes identified included applicability to pharmacists’ roles and need for clear instructions and examples. Conclusion. There was no significant difference between student performance on knowledge assessments of journal clubs and clinical debates, and students found both activities to be beneficial. Clinical debates are a reasonable alternative to journal clubs to improve pharmacy students’ knowledge and literature evaluation skills.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8562
Pages (from-to)49-56
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of pharmaceutical education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Debates
  • Experiential
  • Journal clubs
  • Student perceptions


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