From the early days as an undergraduate student through to senior scientists, nutritional scientists recognise that critical appraisal is a core concept and skill. In a society where misinformation is widely distributed and, particularly within nutrition, strong headlines are produced on the back of potentially equivocal data, it is essential that research and evidence-based practice is conducted with integrity. 

As nutritional scientists, to better inform the public it is more important than ever before to be a critical evaluator of those headlines and subsequently the research that sits behind them. It should be a clear, critical appraisal and not an opportunity to disregard research or highlight a list of limitations. It is a time for discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the research. New research opportunities and collaborations can stem from critical appraisal too. If a research paper has a low participant number, or the method missed key blood indicators, is there an opportunity re-conduct this with a more stringent approach? Did critical appraisal conclude that the method was robust and its conclusions accurate?

As nutritional scientists you will know the importance of evidence-based practice and the importance of conducting stringent research and not basing your findings on n=1. However, becoming confident in the critical appraisal process takes time and is often completed in your own time. Those of you working within industry, clinics and afar may face particular hurdles.  Access to research can be restricted to open access papers, but also, importantly, you may not have colleagues to critically appraise that research with. For those working as a solo nutritionist within an organisation, clinic or practice, it can be a difficult task to approach alone. 

Nutrition Society Journal Club 

This is why the Nutrition Society Journal Club, known to members as the NSJC, was launched. The NSJC provides a space for you to be led through critical appraisal techniques by a senior facilitator, building critical appraisal skills and drawing conclusions from research far beyond the headlines. Recent NSJCs have discussed headline producing papers, providing an exciting opportunity to get behind those headlines. The Nutrition Society Training Academy (NSTA) want to make it as accessible as possible so the NSJC is run online, and you can participate from wherever you are. The NSJC is a new member-only benefit, so make it a part of your annual subscription benefits list. If you are not a Nutrition Society member, joining enables you to participate in the NSJC immediately. 

Why else should you join the NSJC? 

Each monthly NSJC contributes towards 60 minutes of CPD and is endorsed by the Association for Nutrition (AfN).

Your will recieve a CPD certificate, emailed to you following attendance. 

If you miss the NSJC you can find the recording in the ‘my benefits’ section of your membership area. 

The NSJC is hosted on ‘GoToWebinar’ so you can participate on your laptop, tablet or phone. 

How to join

Log in to your membership area. under ‘my benefits’ you will find the NSJC section. Each month, the time, date, registration link and the paper in question are available. The Society, NSTA and Facilitators look forward to welcoming your participation next month.