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Systematic Reviews

  • 7.5 credits

It is becoming more common that policy interventions should be based on best available evidence. The purpose of a systematic review is to sum up the best available research on a specific question.

This is done by synthesizing the results of several studies. Participants will explore the range of existing approaches to, and methods for, research synthesis. The course will provide hands-on application of several commonly applied methods (including the procedures proposed by the Campbell/Cochrane Collaborations). The course uses material from a range of policy areas and will explore different kinds of review questions. Participants will be introduced to different methods for synthesizing both a range of study designs and qualitative and quantitative data, although there is an emphasis on synthesizing quantitative data (meta-analysis). To help participants consider the role played by systematic reviews within evidence-based decision making, this course also includes discussion of the opportunities and challenges that systematic reviews pose.

  • Course structure

    After having completed the course, students are expected to be able to: -characterize and explain the steps in the systematic review process (problem formulation, identification of studies, data extraction, study quality appraisal, synthesis, dissemination).

    -critically appraise and interpret meta-analyses of quantitative research evidence.

    -understand the fundamental problems related to internal and external validity, and be able to reflect and argue for its consequences for applying social science research in practice.

    -conduct oneself critical to the role played by systematic reviews in policy and practice decisions.

    Teaching format

    The course is offered full-time over five weeks. Course participants and instructors meet approximately twice a week for lectures, group discussions, computer-based exercises and/or seminars. The lectures/seminars cover topics not necessarily addressed in the required readings. Lectures should therefore be viewed as a complement to the mandatory literature. In order to enhance the learning outcomes, students need to be up to date on previously acquired skills in descriptive statistics and basic multivariate quantitative methods. 

    Assessment

    This course consists of a group project and computer-based exercises. All course work is based on collaborative work. Participation in group discussions is therefore mandatory. The course is examined through a group assignment to updated a published systematic review, a group peer review assignment, and an individual summary statement of self-reflection on the learning process.

    1. Updated Systematic Review

    2. Peer Review

    3. Individual Summary Statement

  • Schedule

    This is a preliminary schedule and is subject to continuous change. For this reason, we do not recommend print-outs. At the start of the course, your institution will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Contact

    Student affairs office

    studentexp@sociology.su.se
    +46-8-161285, room B980

    Questions about master's courses/programmes:
    master@sociology.su.se

    Study counsellor

    studievagledare@sociology.su.se
    Tel: +46-8-163190, room B982