About the course
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.