The Journal Club: A Pedagogy for Postgraduate Research and Education.


  • Lucia Carragher Dundalk Institute of Technology
  • Bernadette Brereton Dundalk Institute of Technology


Developing deep approaches to learning can enhance students' engagement with academic material and result in improved analytical and conceptual thinking skills.   A deep approach to learning occurs when students engage meaningfully with key concepts to gain meaningful knowledge and skills.  Understanding how students learn can provide a firm basis for the most effective means of teaching and assessment.  Consistent with calls for improvements to the pedagogy for higher research degrees, this study introduces changes to the learning environment for postgraduate research students in an interdisciplinary journal club and reports on the observed effects of the changes. We consider postgraduate students’ views and experiences of learning in an interdisciplinary journal club and the outcomes of the new taught component introduced.

Pre-to-post intervention data were analysed to determine students’ self-assessed knowledge regarding study design and interpretation. In addition, the revised Study Process Questionnaire (R-SPQ-2F) was used to assess changes in students’ deep and surface approaches to learning across the course of the intervention.  Qualitative descriptive text data were also analysed using observations from the journal club and appraisals of research papers.

The findings point to greater awareness of knowledge gaps, actual research knowledge, an increase in deep approach and a decrease in surface approach to learning for some students. It is concluded that the journal club provides an authentic learning environment suitable for postgraduate students from different disciplines to collaborate, co-operate and generate new ideas.






Research Articles