Systematic reviews: meta-analysis, qualitative synthesis, and mixed methods synthesis

Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and Co-ordinating Centre (EPPI-Centre)
Research methods
Course outline: 

As well as the established method of statistical meta-analysis, there are many possible ways of combining the results of studies in a systematic review, in what has become known as a synthesis (e.g. meta-ethnography, thematic synthesis, critical interpretive synthesis).

This course is designed for experienced researchers who wish to gain an advanced, working knowledge of synthesis methods. You will learn about, and use, both established and emerging methods that you can then employ in your own research. This course will provide you with highly sought after skills and knowledge, supporting career development in those academic, policy or practice settings where systematic reviews are used and produced.

This course will equip you with the skills and understanding to undertake a range of quantitative, qualitative or mixed-method syntheses and use judgments about quality in a systematic review. On successful completion, you will be familiar with the aims and rationale for different methods of critical appraisal and research synthesis.The module aims to develop understanding in:

◾theory, purpose and practicalities of numerical approaches to reviewing including statistical meta analysis of effect sizes;

◾theory, purpose and practicalities of narrative and conceptual approaches to synthesis such as meta narrative reviews and meta ethnography;

◾theory, purpose and practicalities of quality appraisal of primary studies for different types of synthesis;

◾arguments in favour and against different approaches to systematic synthesis.

Type of training: 
Online short course
Delivery mode: 
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