ABSTRACT: Surgical journal club as a community of practice: a case study.
Journal club has become a signature pedagogy in postgraduate medical education. In this article, social learning theory, through the lens of “communities of practice” (CoP), is applied to elucidate the process of learning in journal club.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
The study is a case study of a surgical journal club. Video recordings of 2 journal club sessions were followed by semistructured audio-recorded interviews with a sample of journal club participants. Thematic content analysis was performed, mapping data to themes arising based on the key tenets of CoP.
Features of the 4 tenets of CoP learning (community, meaning, identity, and practice) were identified in both the video recordings of journal club and the participant interviews. A shared enterprise and common sense of purpose (community) was seen throughout the video recordings, but feelings of belonging to the community were much stronger for senior members (consultants/attending staff and senior trainees) compared with junior members (junior trainees and students). Experiences and perspectives were more commonly exchanged between senior trainees and consultants, with junior trainees not partaking in discussions, an example of newcomers beginning at the periphery. The main impediment to learning was found with low senior member attendance at journal club, thus limiting access to narratives of senior experience of practice and feedback.
In attempting to improve journal club design for learning, ensuring the participation of senior community members and thus access to narratives of experience along with active engagement of junior members to allow them develop their own meaning should be incorporated into the journal club design.