Course details

FacultyHealth Sciences
Education levelPostgraduate / Master of Science
Course codeE2Semester2
Course titleSystematic review & meta-analysis
Independent teaching activitiesHours per weekECTS
CoursetypeGeneral setting course, skills development
Prerequisite coursesNone
Teaching and assessment languageEnglish

Learning outcomes


Upon completion of the course, students will know the basic principles of systematic reviews and meta-analyses, and will have gained the experience of a systematic review, on an own research question. Students will discuss and work on their own question with their colleagues, will go through all stages of a systematic review, they will reflect on and understand all the decisions one needs to take one during a review.


Upon completion of the course, graduate students will be familiar with:

  • The basic principles of systematic reviews and meta-analyses
  • The stages from start through completion of a systematic review
  • The process and existing repositories for publication of systematic reviews protocol
  • Reporting guidelines for systematic reviews

The course participants upon completion will be able to:

  • Formulate a clear research question, in a format that can be answered (PICO)
  • Formulate a search strategy
  • Devise a statistical analysis plan
  • Facilitate a search
  • Hold literature cleanup and disposal of non-eligible studies
  • Perform statistical analysis
  • Assess and handle heterogeneity
  • Assess the risk of bias
  • Integrate risk assessment bias in their results
  • Assess quality of their conclusions

Course contents

During the course, students will work on their own research question, and will experience the process of review at all stages. So they will learn how to:

  1. Formulate a research question that can be answered
  2. Describe the study selection criteria
  3. Develop a search strategy
  4. Develop a data extraction form
  5. Develop an analysis plan
  6. Devise a strategy for assessing the quality of studies
  7. Hold a systematic review
  8. Hold the meta-analysis

Teaching and learning methods – evaluation

Teaching methodsFace to face
Distance learning
Use of information and
communication technologies (ICT)

  • Use of ICT in Teaching- Moodle Virtual learning environment (VLE)
    (asynchronous learning, wikis, Online Discussion Fora, Educational Portfolio, assignment submission, assessment process)

  • Use of ICT in Communication with students
    (email, instant messaging via Moodle)

Module structureWork Hours per SemesterActivity
Lectures 30
Exercises (Quiz) 5
Exercises (Wikis) 5
Exercises (Online discussion fora) 10
Exercises (Study relevant papers) 20
Essay background work40
Essay writing15
Overall work for the course125
Assessment Methods
  • Written assignment, in English, approximately 2,500 words long, to be submitted by each student at the end of the course

  • Assessment of knowledge at the beginning and the end of the course with short-answer questions and essays development

  • Weekly quizes, with multiple choice questions

  • Assessment based on comments submitted by each student in online discussion fora

Recommended Bibliography

  1. Murad MH, Montori VM, Ioannidis JP, Jaeschke R, Devereaux PJ, Prasad K, Neumann I, Carrasco-Labra A, Agoritsas T, Hatala R, Meade MO, Wyer P, Cook DJ, Guyatt G. How to read a systematic review and meta-analysis and apply the results to patient care: users’ guides to the medical literature. JAMA. 2014 Jul;312(2):171-9. doi: 10.1001/jama.2014.5559. PubMed PMID: 25005654.
  2. Yuan Y, Hunt RH. Systematic reviews: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Am J Gastroenterol. 2009 May;104(5):1086-92. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2009.118. Review. PubMed PMID: 19417748.