This activity teaches skills in critical assessment of the peer-reviewed published literature. It focuses on analysis of clinical trials in mental health, but the principles and methods are readily generalizable to other scientific literature. The “Smackdown” approach represents an augmentation of the traditional “journal club” mode of teaching critical scientific reading skills.
Students travel back in time to 19th-century Japan, assuming the roles of advisors to the Tokugawa shogunate. They must synthesize primary readings on social and political unrest to propose reforms that could prevent the regime from collapsing.