Open Access Open Badges Research article

Exploring the perspectives of allied health practitioners toward the use of journal clubs as a medium for promoting evidence-based practice: a qualitative study

Lucylynn M Lizarondo*, Karen Grimmer-Somers and Saravana Kumar

Author Affiliations

International Centre for Allied Health Evidence, University of South Australia, North Terrace, Adelaide, 5000, Australia

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Medical Education 2011, 11:66  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-11-66

Published: 23 September 2011



Research evidence suggests that journal clubs (JCs) are one approach which can be used to bridge the gap between research and clinical practice. However, there are issues which potentially threaten their viability such as on-going participation or compliance with attendance, which require further exploration. The objectives of this study are: to explore the views and perspectives of allied health practitioners (AHPs) regarding the use of any type of JC in promoting evidence-based practice (EBP); to identify ways in which an innovative model of JC developed by the International Centre for Allied Health Evidence (iCAHE) might be refined.


A qualitative descriptive study utilising focus group interviews with various groups of AHP was undertaken-- those who have been exposed to the iCAHE JC model and those who have no experience of the iCAHE model (although they may have had exposure to other forms of JC). Maximum variation sampling was used to recruit participants for the study. Transcripts of focus groups were coded and distilled into content-related categories.


Six focus groups with 39 AHPs were facilitated. Allied health practitioners perspectives' on JCs were classified in five broad categories: utility and benefits of a JC, elements of an effective and sustainable JC, barriers to participation, incentives for participation, and opportunities for improvement in the current iCAHE JC model. Overall, JCs were seen as a forum for reflective practice and keeping up-to-date with research evidence, and a venue for learning the processes involved in critical appraisal. Limited knowledge of statistics and heavy clinical workload were reported as barriers to participation in a JC. Strategies such as mentoring, strong support from managers, and providing CPD (continuing professional development) points can potentially address these barriers. Opportunities for refinement of the current iCAHE model were raised.


This study suggests that a structured model of JC such as iCAHE's model is acceptable, and likely to be used with enthusiasm by AHP to achieve EBP. Future research should explore the impact of iCAHE JC compared with no JC exposure, and other forms of exposure to JCs, in influencing change in allied health practitioners behaviours and evidence implementation.