Drug Information Center

College of Pharmacy

Journal Club and Literature Analysis

PMPR 330

Fall 2013

Course Description

This 1 credit-hour elective course is designed to familiarize students with journal club presentations and more advanced study design and statistical concepts commonly used in medical literature. This course will rely on active participation from the students via in-depth discussions on their interpretation and evaluation of important elements and findings of a study in the journal club setting. Students will further develop their ability to assess and communicate the value of results from selected published literature to daily clinical practice.


Lara K. Ellinger, Pharm.D., BCPS

(312) 413-3804

Ryan Rodriguez, Pharm.D., BCPS


(312) 413-8363


Class will meet for lecture once weekly on Wednesdays from 10:30 to 11:20 a.m. in Room 231 (and Room 219) on the Chicago campus and in Room E-223 on the Rockford campus. The prerequisite for PMPR 330 is the successful completion of PHAR 455.

Course Objectives

  • Describe the purpose of a journal club
  • Identify appropriate content of various sections of a published article
  • Critically evaluate a published clinical trial
  • Describe various trial designs used in clinical research
  • Identify appropriate statistical methods for a clinical trial

Course Communication

Course communication will occur via e-mail or Blackboard.

Pre-class Preparation

Readings and other required activities may be posted on Blackboard for students to review prior to class to prepare for in-class discussion. Each week will incorporate a different theme relating to medical literature to familiarize students with a variety of relevant concepts.

In-class Article Discussions

These discussions are intended to provide background for the analysis and critique of articles to prepare students to later present their own journal club. A faculty member may discuss the article and require student participation via answering or asking questions on the article.

Journal Club Presentations

Each student will present 2 journal clubs to half of the class. For paired presentations, students will be assigned a partner, with whom they will present jointly. For individual presentations, students will present alone. All students are expected to read the article and participate in the discussion for each journal club they will observe. Students presenting a journal club may optionally provide a handout describing important aspects of the trial design, results, and critique. This optional handout should be limited to 1 page (front only), 12-point font.

Self- and Peer-Evaluations

Each student will prepare a peer evaluation for each paired and individual journal club they observe. Additionally, each student will prepare a self-evaluation for each time they present a paired and individual journal club. Comments from these evaluations will be factored into the points awarded for paired and individual presentations. Comments will also provide the coordinators with feedback to determine relevant topics the class may benefit from discussing. In order to maintain confidentiality, comments from peer evaluations of journal clubs will be reviewed by faculty and returned to the presenter in a blinded fashion.

Attendance and Class Participation

Attendance in class and active participation is required via in-depth discussions on their interpretation and evaluation of articles covered in journal clubs. Please contact a course coordinator via e-mail or phone prior to class if you are going to be absent to arrange for an alternative assignment. Unexcused absences will be addressed on an individual student basis.

Attendance at Professional Meetings

The course coordinator recognizes the value of and encourages student participation at professional meetings. Students who plan to attend off-campus meetings should contact the course coordinator at least 2 weeks prior to the meeting. A list of the student's names attending the meeting should be given to the course coordinator. The course coordinator will work with the students to resolve how missed assignments will be handled. If this procedure is not followed, there is no guarantee that a satisfactory solution will be available.

Religious Observance Policy

The faculty of the University of Illinois at Chicago shall make every effort to avoid scheduling examinations or requiring that student projects be turned in or completed on religious holidays. Students who wish to observe their religious holidays shall notify the faculty member by the 10th day of the semester of the dates when they will be absent unless the religious holiday is observed on or before the 10th day of the semester. In such cases, the student shall notify the faculty member at least 5 days in advance of the date when she/he will be absent. The faculty member shall honor the request, not penalize the student for missing the class, and if an examination or project is due during the absence, the student shall be given an assignment equivalent to the one completed by those students in attendance.

Textbooks/Learning Resources

Readings for discussion and articles discussed as journal clubs will be assigned prior to class. Reading the assigned materials, including the discussed article, prior to class is required and students should be prepared to discuss and/or answer questions regarding their content.

There will be no required text for this course. However, 3 reference texts are suggested:

Hulley SB, Cummings SR, Browner WS, Grady DG, Newman TB. Designing Clinical Research. 3rd Ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2007:1-15. (This is available as an ebook through the UIC Library website)

Lang T, Secic M. How to report statistics in medicine. 2nd edition. Philadelphia (PA): AmericanCollege of Physicians. 2006.

Dawson B, Trapp R. Basic & Clinical Biostatistics, 4th edition. Available via Access Pharmacy at the Library of the Health Sciences. ( http://www.accesspharmacy.com/textbooks.aspx.)

In addition, the CONSORT Statement, recommendations for reporting randomized controlled trials, is available at http://www.consort-statement.org/.


  • Self-evaluations (due at the end of class)
  • Peer evaluations (due at the end of each class)
  • Paired journal club presentation
  • Individual journal club presentation

Late Assignments

All assignments are due at the end of each class. No late assignments will be accepted.


Grades will be based on the scores from class participation, peer evaluations, and self-evaluations.

Point Distribution

Participation (discussion in journal clubs, blackboard assignments) 40% of total points

Paired journal club presentation 20% of total points

Individual journal club presentation 40% of total points

Total points available TBD

Formal letter grade assignments will be based on the following percentages:

A: 90% to 100%

B: 80% to 89%

C: 70% to 79%

D: 60% to 69%

Failing: 59% and below

PMPR 330 Schedule


Tentative Theme

In-Class Assignment

Week 1


Introduction to journal club/anatomy of a published trial

Week 2


Interventional Trials

In-class Article discussion

Week 3


Statistical Methods

Week 4


Observational Trials

In-class Article discussion

Week 5


Flawed Trials

In-class Article discussion

Week 6



Sample journal club: Resident

Week 7


Composite Endpoints

Paired journal club presentations

Week 8



Paired journal club presentations

Week 9



Paired journal club presentations

Week 10



Individual journal club presentations

Week 11


Survival Analyses

Individual journal club presentations

Week 12



Individual journal club presentations

Week 13


Retrospective Cohort

Individual journal club presentations

Week 14


Case-Control/Historical Control

Individual journal club presentations

Week 15


Quality Improvement

Individual journal club presentations

For special needs students (eg, disabilities), as per University policy:

To obtain academic accommodations for this course, students with disabilities should contact the Office of Disability Services and the instructor in charge as soon as possible or within 10 days once the course begins. The student will need to contact Disability Services at 1-312-413-2183 (voice) or 1-312-413-0123 (TYY).

Disabled students have the right to request and receive through the Office of Disability Services current documentation that supports requests for reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, and auxiliary aids and services.

Academic Integrity

It is a policy of the College of Pharmacy and of the faculty and guest lecturers in this course that academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Check the College of Pharmacy Student Handbook and Website for the possible disciplinary actions if found guilty of these actions, and for the UIC academic grievance procedures. Please note: plagiarized assignments will be given a grade of zero.

According to the student handbook, academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to:

1. Cheating—either intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, people, or study aids in any academic exercise or providing to, or receiving from, another person any kind of unauthorized assistance on any examination or assignment.

2. Fabricating—knowing or unauthorized falsification, reproduction, lack of attribution, or invention of any information or citation in an academic exercise.

3. Facilitating academic dishonesty/plagiarism—intentionally or knowingly representing the words or ideas of another as one's own in any academic exercise.

4. Offering bribes, favors, or threats—bribing or attempting to bribe or promising favors to or making threats against any person with the intention of affecting a record of a grade or evaluation of academic performance and any conspiracy with another person who then takes, or attempts to take, action on behalf of, or at the direction of, the student.

5. Taking an examination by proxy—taking or attempting to take an exam for someone else—is a violation by both the student enrolled in the course and the proxy or substitute.

6. Grade tampering—any unauthorized attempt to change, actual change of, or alteration of grades or any tampering with grades.

7. Submitting nonoriginal works—submission or attempt to submit any written work written, in whole or part, by someone other than the student

Pledge of Professionalism

The Pledge of Professionalism was designed to remind students what they should expect of each other in terms of attitudes, ethical behavior, and academic honesty. The coordinator expects that all students enrolled in PMPR 330 will use the Pledge as a guide to behavior within this course and all others. Furthermore, the course coordinator reserves the right to fail any student enrolled in PMPR 330 that demonstrates unprofessional behavior at any time.

The pledge of professionalism is pasted below and is available at: http://www.uic.edu/pharmacy/offices/osa/handbook#pledge

As a student of pharmacy, I believe there is a need to build and reinforce a professional identity founded on integrity, ethical behavior and honor. This development, a vital process in my education, will help to ensure that I am true to the professional relationship I establish between myself and society as I become a member of the pharmacy community. Integrity will be an essential part of my everyday life and I will pursue all academic and professional endeavors with honesty and commitment to service.

To accomplish this goal of professional development, as a student of pharmacy I will:

A. DEVELOP a sense of loyalty and duty to the profession by contributing to the well-being of others and by enthusiastically accepting the responsibility and accountability for membership in the profession.

B. FOSTER professional competency through life-long learning. I will strive for high ideals, teamwork, and unity within the profession in order to provide optimal patient care.

C. SUPPORT my colleagues by actively encouraging personal commitment to the Oath of a Pharmacist and the Code of Ethics for Pharmacists as set forth by the profession.

D. DEDICATE my life and practice to excellence. This will require an ongoing reassessment of personal and professional values.

E. MAINTAIN the highest ideals and professional attributes to insure and facilitate the covenantal relationship required of the pharmaceutical care giver.

The profession of pharmacy is one that demands adherence to a set of ethical principles. These high ideals are necessary to insure the quality of care extended to the patients I serve. As a student of pharmacy, I believe this does not start with graduation; rather it begins with my membership in this professional college community. Therefore, I will strive to uphold this pledge as I advance toward full membership in the profession.

1 Adapted by the American Pharmaceutical Association, Academy of Students of Pharmacy and the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy Council of Deans, Committee on Professional Development, 1994.

Syllabus agreement form – PMPR 330 Journal Club and Literature Analysis

As a student enrolled in PMPR 330, you must acknowledge receipt of this syllabus and agree to abide by its provisions.

I have read this syllabus, understand its implications, and will abide by it. I understand that the course coordinator has the right to make alterations to the class schedule and syllabus as needed.

Name of student:______________________________

Signature of student:______________________________ Date:______________

Please sign and return this form by end of the second meeting of the class.