The use of journal clubs to teach evidence-based medicine to health professionals: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Dragan Ilic, Annelies de Voogt, John Oldroyd

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Journal clubs are an educational activity in which individuals meet to critique and discuss research articles. They are an established part of the medical education system and are considered to be a practical way to improve the content knowledge of health professionals. Aims: To determine the effectiveness of journal clubs for increasing health professionals’ competency in EBM. Methods: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) was performed. Electronic searches were conducted in October 2019 across MEDLINE, ERIC and Scopus databases. Two authors independently reviewed articles, and extracted data. A risk-of-bias tool, based on the Cochrane Collaboration's tool for assessing risk of bias in RCTs, was used to assess internal validity. Results: A total of 151 citations were returned, from which five studies (n = 378 individuals) were included in the final review. No overall statistical difference in knowledge scores was observed between health professionals participating in journal clubs compared to other professional education modes (SMD 0.15, 95% CI –0.09, 0.39). Similarly, no significant difference in attitudes or implementation of evidence-based medicine practices was observed across studies. Conclusions: There is insufficient evidence to support the effectiveness of journal clubs in improving the knowledge, attitudes, and implementation of evidence-based skills by health professionals in clinical practice. Further research is needed to test the effectiveness of other interventions to increase uptake of EBM in real world settings. Such interventions may include interactive components with auditing and feedback to facilitate more effective learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-56
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Evidence-Based Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • evidence-based medicine
  • journal club
  • medical education
  • systematic review

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