Systematic reviews and meta-analyses of health research

Overview - Systematic reviews and meta-analyses of health research

The increasing amount of research information produced each year makes it impossible for users of health research to evaluate and keep up-to-date with the new evidence. Consequently systematic reviews have a vital role in providing reliable syntheses of research for evidence-based decision-making.

This five day course will provide participants with a basis in the design, analysis and interpretation of systematic reviews of health research. Participants will be given grounding in all aspects involved in conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis, and will have the opportunity to gain practical experience of the tasks involved. By the end of the course participants will be equipped with the necessary skills to conduct their own high quality systematic reviews .

At the end of the course the students should be able to:

  • Describe the principles of systematic reviews
  • Interpret the results of systematic reviews
  • Critically appraise existing systematic reviews
  • Conduct their own high quality systematic reviews and meta-analysis

Who should attend?

Researchers including clinicians, nurses, epidemiologists and public health practitioners, who are interested in learning the key concepts involved in the design and production of high quality systematic reviews. Although examples used during the course will be taken from the health literature, the underlying concepts taught are applicable to other disciplines and applications from those interested in systematic reviews of non-health research literature are welcomed. It is assumed that participants will have no prior experience of conducting systematic reviews, however will have a basic understanding of statistics and epidemiological study designs. Participants must also have a good command of English. Places are limited. Participants are advised to book early to avoid disappointment.

Course fee

The fee covers participation in the course, materials and some refreshments.  It does not cover travel costs, accommodation and meals. If the course fee is to be paid on the applicant's behalf, a letter from the sponsor is needed to confirm this as soon as possible. Otherwise, the applicant will be held personally responsible for payment.

Course objectives
Course objectives - Systematic reviews and meta-analyses of health research

Course Content

  • Introduction to and rationale of systematic reviews of health research
  • Question formulation and protocol development
  • Planning and performing searches
  • Critical appraisal
  • Introduction to statistical methods
  • Introduction to software for meta-analysis
  • Publication and reporting bias
  • Systematic reviews of observational studies
  • Systematic reviews in context

Sessions will run from 9.00 to 17.00 each day.

The course will involve lectures and participatory practical sessions. A course manual will be given to participants at the beginning of the week.

Method of Assessment

There will be no formal examination. A Certificate of Attendance will be awarded to all completing the course.

How to apply
How to apply - Systematic reviews and meta-analyses of health research

Applying for this course

We are no longer accepting applications for 2019.

Please read LSHTM's Admissions policies prior to submitting your application.

Short courses - visas, accommodation, disclaimer


The student is responsible for obtaining any visa or other permissions to attend the course, and is encouraged to start the application process as early as possible as obtaining a visa for the UK can sometimes take a long time. The Short Courses team can provide supporting documentation if requested.

Accommodation and meals

A list of hotels located in the vicinity of LSHTM, along with further resources for short term accommodation, can be found on our accommodation pages. Tea and coffee vouchers will be provided during breaks.

Evening meals are not catered for at LSHTM, however there is a large choice of restaurants, cafés and shops nearby.

Important information

Please note:

  • If you have been offered a place on the course you will not be able to register without bringing formal ID (Passport) and without having obtained the correct visa if required.
  • It is essential that you read the current visa requirements for short course students.
  • LSHTM may cancel courses two weeks before the first day of the course if numbers prove insufficient.  In those circumstances, course fees will be refunded.
  • LSHTM cannot accept responsibility for accommodation, travel and other losses incurred as a result of the course being cancelled.