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The “Murder Mystery” Journal Club

You present the paper as a “who done it” where the rest of the lab brainstorms how the authors may have conducted the study. Only the presenter reads the paper in this case.

The Presenter:

  • Chooses a paper with broad connection to the lab (this approach will be difficult if people are totally unfamiliar with the techniques)
  • Reads the paper and does not even tell the lab what paper will be presented (it’s a mystery!)
  • Chooses the primary experiments that make a full story (but maybe will not encompass every single point presented in the paper)
  • Creates a PPT that:
    • Introduces the paper: what was known, why did the authors conduct the study, what were the major questions?
    • Has a set of slides for each major experiment to be presented:
      • 1: The mystery (what was the main point of the experiment? What was to be compared?) and the murder weapon (broadly, what technique(s) did the authors use? If specialized techniques were used, it would be appropriate to describe them/how they work).
      • [After displaying this slide, the lab will discuss and try to “deduce” what experiment the authors would have performed to test their hypothesis, and what they would have seen given the possible outcomes]. The presenter can help guide the lab if they are stuck. The presenter should also try to judge whether the experiment(s) the lab proposes might be alternative methods of testing the author’s goals.
      • 2: The actual experiment performed by the authors – at this point the presenter describes the experiment the authors performed and the conclusion the authors came to given the experiment.
    • At the end, a summary slide that sums up the major conclusions
      • At this point, the lab accuses/guesses the title of the paper and the journal it was published in. Each member has to submit a guess!
    • Then, the presenter reveals the murderer (the title of the paper and journal…)