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The University of Southampton
Southampton Health Technology Assessments Centre

Introduction to Systematic Reviews in Health Course

Fantastic day, all the staff were really interesting and kept your attention. Good blend of group work and presentation - excellent training

Join us to learn about systematic reviews

This popular course is delivered by Southampton Health Technology Assessments Centre (SHTAC).

The course will provide an introductory overview of the key aspects of systematic reviewing the effectiveness of health interventions and is designed for health professionals, academics and decision makers who have an understanding of health and related research.  Although this course relates to health, the principles can be applied to other disciplines (e.g. education, environmental sciences, social sciences).

The course is presented by members of the SHTAC team, who are highly experienced in conducting systematic reviews.  The one day or two mornings comprise slide presentations interspersed with small group interactive practical exercises. The concepts are brought to life with examples from published systematic reviews.  

Course dates

CourseCourse datesDeliveryAvailability
Introduction to Systematic Reviews in Health

07/03/2023 9am-1pm

14/03/2023 9am-1pm

Online No longer available to book
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Why learn with SHTAC?

With extensive experience of conducting systematic reviews, our team can provide a unique insight into a successful review and use real examples and exercises to assist your learning.

Meet our trainers

Course leaders: Dr Jonathan Shepherd & Dr Jo Picot | Course Administrator: Angela Vincent | Click here for staff profiles of all the training team.

2018-2021 participant quotes

"Great day - feel confident in being able to start my doctorate systematic review in the correct way being able to foresee the common problems now rather than encountering them mid-way through."

"Great course, I even got the answers right for the meta analysis practical example and I struggle with statistics. I understood the concepts. i expected a headache as long day on screen but the course had lots of breaks and interactive work to do. no headache after."

"I would highly recommend this course. The course was well taught and topics were well explained. Covered the main aspects of carrying out a systematic review really well whilst signposting to relevant guidance and software for those about to embark on a systematic review. The facilitators were approachable and answered questions really well. The course material will be really useful too. Thank you!"

"An excellent summary of the topics required for a systematic review. Concise but very helpful and well presented."

"Very useful and to the point. Will give a good grounding on systematic reviews for novices." 

"Very pleased with the course! Very professional and insightful!"

"A systematic, thorough and accessible introduction to systematic reviews!"

"Excellent well planned and executed course which introduces the topic well."

"A clear and in depth breakdown of the systematic review process.  This is the first time that I've fully understood how to carry out a systematic review correctly.  10 out of 10.  I cannot recommend the course enough."

"It was a very comprehensive and high-quality course, delivered in a very clear manner. Recommend to all of you who want to conduct or interpret systematic reviews."

"Highly recommended I wish I did this earlier before my first systematic review."

"This course will have a significant impact on my day-to-day research activities."

Course content

What is a systematic review?

We start the day with a brief discussion of what features of an evidence review make it systematic.

Each day is split into sections covering a key stage of conducting a systematic review. 

Scoping the research question

We then discuss the factors that need to be considered when starting a review, including setting a good question, writing a protocol, and planning effective and efficient management processes. 

Literature searching

Our information specialist describes a 10-step process for planning and conducting your literature search. A Medline search strategy is presented showing some of the features available in the Ovid search interface. 

Inclusion/exclusion screening

In this session the process of screening references identified from the literature search is described, with short practical exercises to help you understand some commonly encountered issues.  The importance of documenting the decisions made and reasons for inclusion/exclusion of references are covered.

Data extraction & critical appraisal

Methods for extracting relevant information from included studies are presented, and the concepts of critical appraisal of study bias and quality are introduced. You will have the opportunity to critically appraise the quality of a published clinical trial using standard criteria.

Data synthesis

Key methods for the analysis of included studies are presented, including narrative synthesis and meta-analysis. You will have the opportunity to look at a published meta-analysis ‘forest plot’ and discuss what its results mean.

Course materials

Course materials

To support your learning, you will receive a comprehensive PDF of course materials.

General terms

Fees per course


A cancellation fee of £50 will be incurred for cancellations up to 4 weeks before the course date, cancellations after this date are non-refundable. Substitutions can be made, new delegate details should be emailed to the Course Administrator In the event that the course is cancelled for any reason, our liability is limited to the course fee only which will be refunded in full. We recommend delegates have adequate insurance cover for any travel or personal expenses.

Online delivery

Courses are being delivered using Zoom or MS Teams video conferencing. 

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