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Systematic Reviews Classes

Systematic reviews are a complex undertaking and involves multiple steps in order to produce a quality systematic review. Our classes will provide an introduction to different types of systematic reviews, the overall review process, what a comprehensive literature search entails, development of a protocol, identification of screening criteria, suggestions for data collection and management, appropriate standards and guidelines to follow, and suggestions on how to write up your review for journal submission. The list below includes Systematic Review classes in our course catalog. Click the title of the class to view any upcoming sessions.

Collecting and Cleaning Data for Your Review

This class will provide an overview of the data collection process for your review – whether scoping or systematic. The importance of data cleaning for consistency to ensure accurate identification of comparable outcome measures across studies and how to do so will be discussed. We will review the process and tools to use, discuss recommended practices, and share lessons learned. Participants will receive resources and information on recommended practices for performing this important step in your review.

Establishing Your Eligibility Criteria and Conducting the Screening and Risk of Bias Steps in Your Review

This class will provide a comprehensive look into critical steps of the review process – establishing your inclusion and exclusion criteria and then using those criteria to conduct the screening steps to select relevant studies for your review. We will discuss completing the risk of bias assessment, a key feature of systematic reviews. Participants will receive resources and information on best practice for performing these steps to facilitate an effective and rigorous review.

Introduction to Umbrella Reviews: Conducting a Review of Reviews

Umbrella reviews, sometimes referred to as review of reviews, are a review of other published systematic reviews and meta-analyses and are appearing more frequently in scientific literature. Umbrella reviews appropriately address a broad question on a topic when there are plenty of published reviews already available. The benefits of conducting an umbrella review are to help synthesize the evidence for decision making in healthcare and explore inconsistencies and biases.

Introduction to Rapid Reviews

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of rapid reviews increased and became a popular method of conducting a rigorous literature review, using systematic review methodology in a shorter time frame. This type of review helps synthesize the available evidence in a narrative descriptive format and can be done at a faster pace than a full systematic review. The introductory class will discuss what research questions are best suited for a rapid review, best practices for their conduct, and review the required methodological steps on how to conduct an effective rapid review. 

Using Covidence for Conducting Your Systematic Review

Covidence is a web-based tool that can be used in conducting systematic and scoping reviews, and meta-analyses. This tool helps researchers manage article screening at the title, abstract, and full text levels. This class covers the basic features of Covidence, including setting up a review, importing and exporting records, and screening. Data extraction, quality assessment, and additional resources will be covered. At least one member of the research team must be based at the NIH to gain Covidence access.

Introduction to Scoping Reviews

A scoping review is a preliminary assessment of research literature that aims to systematically map the literature, clarify concepts, and identify the evidence and knowledge gaps on a topic. This research method can be conducted as standalone review or used as an initial step before conducting a full systematic review. Participants will learn best practices, tips, and guidelines on how to conduct a scoping review. This introductory class will also include scoping review resources and an overview of NIH Library research support services.

Exploring the Cochrane Library: Systematic Reviews, Clinical Trials, and More

This introductory class aims to give researchers an overview of the Cochrane Library. This session will cover when to incorporate this database into your workflow and how to use the variety of features it offers. Participants will become familiar with the Cochrane Collaboration, learn how to locate systematic reviews, protocols and clinical trials, and how to save and export data to other tools like reference management systems.

Developing the Research Question and Conducting the Literature Search

This session focuses on defining the scope of your review by applying techniques to formulate a workable research question. The class introduces various frameworks used for developing a research question, and presents the requirements and steps involved in conducting the literature search for the systematic review. Useful resources are introduced throughout the session.

Selecting the Most Appropriate Type of Literature Review for Your Research

Do you want to write a review, but not sure what type of review would be best for your research question or topic? In today’s research environment, everyone seems to be doing a review of some type, especially systematic reviews.  However, not all literature reviews are systematic reviews, nor need to be. There are many other types of evidence-based reviews. This session will explore the various literature review types, the associated methodologies of each, and how to select the best option for you.

Gray Literature: Searching Beyond the Databases

Gray literature is not controlled by commercial publishers and usually is not peer reviewed. However, gray literature can help identify useful information outside the published, peer reviewed articles through reports, dissertations, conference abstracts, official documents, research-in-progress, and clinical trials. It might get you information you would never find in traditional sources. This workshop will focus on how to find credible gray literature for your research topic or for part of a systematic review.

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