Peer feedback enhances a ‘journal club’ for undergraduate science students that develops oral communication and critical evaluation skills

Kay Colthorpe, Xuebin Chen, Kirsten Zimbardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Effective science communication is one of the key skills undergraduates must achieve and is one of the threshold learning outcomes for Science (TLO 4.1). In addition, presenting published research to their peers allows students to critically evaluate scientific research (TLO 3.1) and develop a deeper appreciation for the link between experimental methodologies and the contestable nature of scientific knowledge. Although it is recognised that feedback given to students has positive impacts on student learning, increasing workload pressures may restrict academics’ capacity to provide effective feedback. An alternate approach is to facilitate the exchange of feedback between peers, where gaining experience in providing feedback can further develop students’ skills in critique, which enhances their learning outcomes. In this study, 3rd year undergraduate biomedical science students were asked to provide anonymous, written feedback on the quality of an oral “journal club” presentation of a primary research article by a group of their peers. Students gave extensive, rich and detailed feedback to their peers. The quality of the feedback given was high, with most students receiving a grade of distinction or higher for the feedback they provided. In addition, the improvement in student learning outcomes was significantly greater with peer feedback than with academic feedback alone, suggesting that performing peer review provides students with additional benefits. Keywords
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Learning Design
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sep 2014

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