Introduction to Systematic Reviews

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Event description
This online event provides authors with an in-depth understanding of the systematic review process.

About this event

Date: 24th, 28th, 31st January & 4th February 2021

Time: 10.00 am - 1.00 pm each day

Places: Individuals who are resident on the island of Ireland.


Health care policy and practice decisions should be based on a synthesis of the global body of evidence rather than relying on individual studies. Cochrane Ireland and Evidence Synthesis Ireland promote evidence based healthcare policy and practice by supporting high quality, relevant systematic reviews and other synthesised research evidence.


This workshop provides authors, at the beginning of the systematic review process, with an in-depth understanding of how reviews are structured. It offers an insight to the development of a protocol, introducing participants to methodology, search methods, data extraction and meta-analysis. This workshop also includes an introduction to RevMan software and its use during protocol development.

Learning outcomes

In this course participants will be enabled to:

  • Understand the basic principles of a systematic review
  • Identify the scope of their review
  • Understand search methods and apply these methods to their search strategy
  • Apply the criteria for selecting studies
  • Understand the principles of creating a data collection form and data extraction
  • Attain a basic understanding of principles of meta-analysis
  • Identify heterogeneity and understand the methods for assessing and addressing it.

Teaching strategies

The workshop will consist of a mixture of short presentations, led by members of the Cochrane Ireland teaching faculty covering each of the stages of developing a systematic review protocol, small group activities and plenary discussions, providing participants with the opportunity to develop and refine their protocol.


Prof. Declan Devane, Director of Evidence Synthesis Ireland & Cochrane Ireland, Professor of Midwifery, School of Nursing and Midwifery, NUI Galway.

Dr Julie Broderick, Assistant Professor in Physiotherapy, School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin.

Course content

  • Introduction to systematic reviews
  • Writing a protocol
  • Defining a review question – defining objectives and creating a PICO (population, interventions, comparators, outcomes)
  • Practical exercise with PICO development
  • Identifying search terms and searching for relevant studies in a systematic way
  • Practical exercise : developing a search strategy
  • Screening studies assessing eligibility
  • Assessing risk of bias
  • Practical exercise on Risk of bias
  • Data extraction and management; different types and formats of outcome data
  • Practical exercise on Data extraction
  • Meta-analysis methods for binary data (odds ratio, risk ratio)
  • Meta-analysis methods for continuous data (mean difference, standardised mean difference) Introduction to meta-analysis
  • Exploring heterogeneity; subgroup analysis and sensitivity analysis
  • Tools to support systematic reviews: Introduction to Review Manager (RevMan), Covidence and Endnote
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Organiser Evidence Synthesis Ireland & Cochrane Ireland

Organiser of Introduction to Systematic Reviews

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