Introduction to Systematic Reviews - online (Medicine and Health Sciences)
Duration 4 part course run over 4 weeks (4 hours to complete each part)
Team Researcher Academy

This online course is run by the Researcher Academy
as part of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences Training Programme

Target Audience: 

Postgraduate Research Students and Research Staff in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences only. Researchers who are based in other faculties, and who are undertaking health and medical-related research may request a place, subject to availability, by emailing with details of why this course is relevant. Places are limited and acceptance to the course is not guaranteed.

Course Overview: 

This course will provide you with knowledge and skills to understand, appraise, and plan quantitative and qualitative systematic reviews in healthcare. You will learn about the key steps that are required in a systematic review and how these may be applied to your own areas of interest. This includes how to frame a suitable research question and how to select an appropriate review approach for your question. You will also learn how to recognise good and poor systematic reviews through applying critical appraisal tools to examples of published systematic review, as well as explore the tools that can be used to report systematic reviews. 

Systematic review is a method to systematically search for, critically appraise and adequately synthesise evidence for a specific question of interest.

This course will provide an introduction to systematic reviews of qualitative and quantitative research evidence. For more in-depth training on reviews of qualitative evidence, you may wish to attend Approaches to Qualitative Evidence Synthesis. For more in-depth training on the analysis undertaken in quantitative reviews, you may wish to attend Meta-analysis. This course does not explicitly cover literature searching as there are several separate courses on Literature Searching, as well as excellent library resources.  

The course is run by two experts in systematic reviewing who are Directors of the Centre for Evidence Based Healthcare. The course will be delivered over a 4 week period using a blended learning approach. Each week, you will be required to work through a variety of on-line materials and activities. There will also be a one hour interactive session each week. 

Aims: To give an overview of the techniques involved in undertaking a systematic review of qualitative and quantitative evidence.  
Learning Outcomes: 
By the end of the course, you will be able to: 

  • Identify and recognise the accepted steps and tools used within systematic reviews
  • Develop a research question based on a PICO framework (or similar)
  • Understand the different methods and approaches used within systematic review processes
  • Critically appraise existing systematic reviews using recognised assessment tools

Practice the use of systematic review components  

Process: The course is divided into 4 parts. Participants will be required to complete one part each week over a 4- week period. Each part, taking approximately 4 hours for completion, is a combination of asynchronous and synchronous delivery.


It is estimated that the self-study will take 2-3 hours, dependent on reading and writing speeds.

Self-study materials will be released weekly on the Monday at 9am. The self-study can be undertaken flexibly during the week, but in advance of the webchat.


Each week there is also a live webchat that takes place on the Friday 12-13.00 via Teams. By booking on this course you are committing to join and actively participate in the weekly 1-hour webchat.

Course Accessibility

The following table shows a summary of what is needed to participate in the course. 

If you feel you will experience any difficulties participating, please let us know via the ‘special requirements’ tab, providing as much information as possible. The special requirements tab can be completed when you book your place. Alternatively, you can contact us directly at

Access Moodle
Access MS Teams
Access and complete self-study tasks each week
Use MS Teams chat box function during Friday webchats
Engage with online materials
Watch and listen to pre-recorded videos
Watch and listen to the course tutor(s) and/or other attendees during Friday webchats
Follow presentation slides during the course during Friday webchats
Take part in group activities/ discussions


Webchat Access Instructions 

This is an online session within Microsoft Teams. On the day of the session please use the link in this email to join the meeting. Please do not click the link in this email until the day of the session.  

You will need a headset or speakers for the webinar and we recommend that you join 10 minutes before the webinar is due to start so that you can test them.

Please mute your microphone, switch off your webcam and open the chat box function as you join the Teams meeting. Any questions can be asked via the chat box. 

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