Systematic Reviews for Public Health and Biomedical Research

Ludovic Trinquart, PhD, Assistant Professor, Biostatistics, BUSPH

Michael P. LaValley, PhD, Professor, Biostatistics, BUSPH

On Campus 20 Hours June 11-13, 2018 Registration Closed

Program Description

Systematic reviews (SR) are increasingly used to inform clinical and public health practice. SR seek to collate all evidence that fits pre-specified eligibility criteria in order to address a specific research question. This 3-day course will present an overview of the explicit and systematic methods used in SR to minimize bias. Together we will learn step by step how to actually perform, report, and critically appraise SR. We will focus primarily on methods for SR of randomized trials and will discuss how to extend them to SR of observational studies. Participants are encouraged to register for our companion 2-day course on meta-analysis.


Participants will learn to:

  • Identify the critical steps when planning a systematic review;
  • Plan a search strategy to identify studies in published and grey literature and carry it out;
  • Select studies and collect data;
  • Assess risk of bias in selected studies and address reporting bias;
  • Report and discuss the results of systematic reviews

Intended Audience

Clinicians, researchers, public health specialists and other health care professionals who want to perform and/or evaluate systematic reviews

Required knowledge/pre-requisites

Basic knowledge of study designs. Participants must bring a laptop.

Discounts available—visit our FAQs page to learn more.

Low-cost, on-campus housing is also available. Contact us for more information.

Additional Information

Detailed description of sessions

Session 1: Introduction to conducting systematic reviews

Learning objectives

  • Understand what systematic reviews are, why they are useful
  • Identify the key steps of the systematic review process
  • Apply the PICO approach to define the research question
  • Be able to register a systematic review on PROSPERO
  • Search for previous systematic reviews on a given topic
  • Introduction to RevMan software

Session 2: Searching for studies

Learning objectives:

  • List bibliographical databases and other sources for unpublished information
  • Create a search strategy for PUBMED, EMBASE, and CENTRAL
  • Understand the various forms of reporting bias
  • Report the search process into RevMan

Session 3: Selecting trials and collecting data

Learning objectives:

  • Identify screening software packages
  • How to select trials for inclusion
  • How to collect systematically different data types
  • Enter data into RevMan

Session 4: Addressing risk of bias

Learning objectives:

  • Understand the Cochrane Risk of bias tool for randomized trials
  • Assess the risk of bias within trials
  • Report the risk of bias assessment into RevMan

Session 5: Introduction to data analysis

Learning objectives:

  • Understand the principles of fixed-effect and random-effects models
  • Measure between-trial heterogeneity
  • Interpret funnel plots
  • Incorporate risk of bias assessments into synthesis
  • Perform basic data analysis with RevMan

Session 6: Critical appraisal of systematic reviews

Learning objectives:

  • Understand reporting guidelines for systematic reviews
  • Identify pitfalls and strengths in published systematic reviews with meta-analyses

I was not expecting to learn as much as I did. I really enjoyed how much information we were able to cover

Summer Institute 2017 Participant

Program Details

On Campus 20 Hours June 11-13, 2018

- Monday, 9:00am-4:00pm
- Tuesday, 9:00am-4:00pm
- Wednesday, 9:00am-3:00pm