Journal Club Tips
Choose your paper carefully and know clearly why you are choosing it. You will not know the strong and weak points of the paper until you have actually put in a lot of effort so it is prudent to choose papers that make interesting and significant “claims” in an area of interest to you or your mentor. Read a couple of good reviews on the topic before you start preparing your presentation. A general understanding of the research area is crucial for a good journal club presentation. When you prepare your presentation, you are not obliged to present every figure in a chronological order. After giving a minimal critical introduction, you can choose the most crucial experiments that support the central claim of the paper. The audience always appreciates a brief overview of specialized techniques used in the study. You will be interrupted constantly during your presentation. Remember that the criticisms are aimed at the paper – not at you. Don’t get flustered and answer the questions as best as you can without getting too defensive. If your presentation stimulates a lot of discussion, that’s good! It is your job to moderate the discussion so that it stays focused on the paper being presented. If you have never presented before to the entire department, it is natural to feel a little nervous, but it is important to realize that neither the students nor the faculty are there to judge you. They are just interested in the paper and want to know more.
For more details on paper selection, organization, and figures, please see this PDF.