Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses of Health Research

Online short course

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 four-day course will provide participants with a basis in the design, analysis and interpretation of quantitative 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. 

This course focusses on systematic reviews of quantitative studies, although many concepts taught are applicable to qualitative and mixed methods reviews. 

At the end of the course, participants 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 quantitative systematic reviews and meta-analysis 

What is the format? 

This is a four-day online short course. There will be one daily interactive session held via Zoom, along with recorded materials and practical exercises to do in your own time. Zoom sessions will be held from 1pm-4pm UK time on days 1, 3 and 4 and from 10am-1pm UK time on day 2. 

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 quantitative 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 but will have a basic understanding of statistics and epidemiological study designs. Participants must also have a good command of English.  

Interested in qualitative and mixed-methods systematic reviews? 

We recommend the following sources: 

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
  • Selecting studies and extracting data
  • Assessing risk of bias
  • Introduction to statistical methods
  • Introduction to software for meta-analysis
  • Publication and reporting bias
  • Systematic reviews of observational studies
  • Systematic reviews in context

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

Applications for 2023 are now closed.

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