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Journal club seminars

misandst at magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu misandst at postbox.acs.ohio-state.edu
Sat Jan 20 10:10:36 EST 1996

Fellow neuroscience graduate students and faculty,
  I am a graduate student in the neurosciences and I wondered if I could get 
some opinions from both students and faculty about the most productive / 
effective way to run journal club type seminars.  Particularly, when 
students who work in a variety of different areas ranging from primate 
behavior to autonomic heart rate control to age-dependent plasticity in the 
basal ganglia.  The question is, when any subject is chosen, several 
participants will be less familiar with the background literature whether it 
be because they are newer students or because it is not their area of 
1. In order to get discussion moving so that many people can 
participate, is it acceptable to engage in what (to the experts) may seem 
like wild speculation?  
2. If a paper has been chosen and the authors are less rigorous about 
defining their hypothesis than the standards of faculty present would 
usually allow, is it still possible to discuss interpretation of data in a 
meaningful way?
3. If the terms used in a paper, which have been well defined in the 
literature prior to this paper, begin to be used with definitions which veer 
away from the strict operational parameters to which they were once 
associated, is it better to discuss/teach the former literature which 
these authors seem to discount or to question the previous definitions?

Thank you for your participation.  I just wanted to hear what the rest of 
the world thought.
Michael Sandstrom
misandst at magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu

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