Journal Club

The North Carolina Chaplains’ Association offers a continuing education opportunity in the area of research on a bimonthly basis.  This CE is perfect for the “Methodology 8, Research (5 hours MINIMUM)” for the APC Annual Summary of Continuing Hours, for APC Board Certified Chaplains.  

A research article is selected and presented to the group for discussion via a Skype meeting.  Volunteer presenters are encouraged.  Contact or with questions or to volunteer.

The following outline is used to guide the discussion:

Research Summary Outline for Critically Reading Research


1.         This section makes the case for the study. What is the background for the study (review of the literature)? This should tell us what is already known about this area of research. It should also tell us what is not known about this area of research and how this study will help fill that gap.

2.         What were the study aims, research questions, or hypotheses?


3.         Summarize the following information about the research methods:

            a. Sample

Who were the people that provided the data? How were they recruited? How representative of people with this condition is this sample? Did the authors get permission from the IRB?

b. Study design

 Was the data collected from each respondent just once (cross sectional design)?

Was the data collected at the beginning of the study and a later time(s) (longitudinal design)? Was there an intervention? Was there a comparison group (clinical trial)?

            c. Measures

What was the main outcome measure(s) (the results they were studying)? What was the main measure(s) of the associated factors (aka predictors or independent variable)?  What possible confounders (covariates) were also included in the analysis?

                d. Analysis

Summarize any important information about how the study data was analyzed. What software did the authors say they used?  What tests did they plan to use? Were they tests of comparison of groups? Were they tests of association? Did they plan do any multivariate analyses? If they collect data from each person at more than one time, how much time was there between the first survey and the second?


4.         What were the results of the study?


5.         Summarize the investigators’ discussion of the following:

a. Integration with other research: Were the findings from this study similar to or different from previous studies?

            b. Limitations of the study

            c. Implications of the study for further research 

Your Thoughts

6.         Critical Evaluation: What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of this research?

7.         Clinical Application: 

a. What are the implications of this research for your ministry, if any?

b. Does the research have implications for the work of other clinicians (or clergy)?