Based on research in health care topics, the course is suitable for people from any role or discipline with an interest in learning about the systematic review process, including health care professionals, students, researchers and decision or policy makers.
The course offers an interactive and engaging online experience, blending pre-recorded videos and learning materials, live workshops and group work. Clinics and ‘question & answer’ sessions throughout give attendees opportunities to talk about your research and learning needs directly with our experts.
Attendees are given access to a dedicated website to guide them through the course. This includes all learning materials, as well as forums for requesting support or sharing practice with fellow learners. All of the training materials, including recordings from live presentations and workshops, are available for you to continue your learning after the course is completed.
“I honestly have never attended a course that was so well prepared. The instructors were all very engaging and create a really good atmosphere and motivation needed for a quite intense course. I like that there was new instructors coming in and I was very impressed about how available everyone was to answer questions at all times. Well done!”
Below you can find out more details about the content of the course, its intended audience and how to register.
If you are unable to make the dates for the November course, please register your interest for future courses here
For enquiries about the course please contact Susan Sutton on email@example.com
The 12-module online course takes place over eight days, with live workshops each day. For many modules there will be some homework and recorded content to watch.
You should expect to dedicate around 3 to 4 hours each day to complete the coursework, including live workshops, reading, videos and other homework.
There is also a short orientation session (Module 0) in the week before the course starts. This will take place at 10am [UK time] on Thursday 3 November.
A detailed course outline with more information about specific timings and how individual modules will run will is available by downloading CRD Course Outline (PDF , 276kb) .
MODULE 0: Introduction and orientation
An introduction to the course content, tutors and facilitators, information about technical requirements and where to get support throughout. This session will also be an opportunity to meet your fellow learners and share your expectations for and questions about the course.
Lead tutors: Mark Rodgers and Chris Watts
MODULE 1: Developing the review question and protocols
This module explores the development of an idea or research brief into a review question, and explains how the PICOS criteria supports a systematic approach to investigating a review question. You will also learn about the importance of systematic review protocols and how to write these, and about registering a protocol in PROSPERO.
MODULE 2: Literature searching
This module covers the workflow of the searching process for a systematic review and the main aspects of planning a literature search. You will learn about sensitive search strategies, using Boolean operators and effective search terms, selecting the right databases for your project, and the importance of thinking beyond bibliographical databases.
MODULE 3: Study selection
The practicalities of study selection, including how PICOS criteria are used to produce objective and repeatable inclusion criteria for a systematic review.
MODULE 4: Data extraction
MODULE 5: Critical appraisal of included studies
Key concepts affecting the quality of primary studies and the reliability of results. You will learn about important biases that are commonly considered when critically appraising the quality of a study, and have a chance to apply your critical appraisal skills in group exercises.
Lead tutors: Mark Corbett and Noortje Uphoff
MODULE 6: Calculating treatment effects
An introduction to estimating treatment effects from included studies, including practical considerations and how to illustrate effects on a forest plot.
Lead tutors: Mark Simmonds, Sumayya Anwer, David Marshall and Lindsay Robertson
MODULE 7: Meta-analysis
This module will give a detailed introduction to meta-analysis, including looking at heterogeneity, addressing missing studies and publication bias. We will look briefly at narrative synthesis as an alternative to meta-analysis. Finally, there will be an opportunity for some hands-on experience, with a practical group exercise using RevMan meta-analysis software.
Lead tutors: Mark Simmonds, Theo Lorenc, Sumayya Anwer and Lindsay Robertson
MODULE 8: Reporting your review
A brief module looking at reporting standards and associated checklists for systematic reviews. Reporting for different audiences will be covered in module 12 on knowledge mobilisation.
Lead tutors: Noortje Uphoff and Lucy Beresford
MODULE 9: GRADE
This module looks at how the GRADE approach can be used to appraise the quality of evidence in a systematic review. You will learn about the main underlying concepts of GRADE, including risk of bias, indirectness, inconsistency, imprecision and publication bias. You will learn the principles of completing a GRADE profile through an interactive group session using a systematic review example.
Lead tutors: Alexis Llewellyn, Lindsay Robertson and Noortje Uphoff
MODULE 10: Critical appraisal of a systematic review
The core content of the course concludes with an interactive session allowing attendees to apply their learning from the course about what makes a good review, by using their critical appraisal skills in assessing some published systematic reviews.
Lead tutor: Bob Phillips
MODULE 11: An introduction to health economics
This module will cover how systematic reviews can be planned to take account of the requirements of an economic model, including introducing the purpose and principles of economic decision modelling. You will also learn about the process of searching, quality assessment, and synthesis of published economic evaluations.
Lead tutors: Matt Walton and Rob Hodgson
MODULE 12: Knowledge mobilisation
This module gives a rapid introduction to the key concepts of knowledge mobilisation and how you apply these throughout the review process, particularly in disseminating the results of a systematic review to different audiences and stakeholders. There will be an opportunity to apply your skills in a practical exercise.
Lead tutor: Sarah Knowles
Please note: the timings above are estimated and may be adjusted slightly. A full course outline with final timings and commitments will be shared ahead of the course.
Disclaimer: We reserve the right to change speakers/course content at short notice.
About the course
This is an introductory course, aimed at anyone interested in undertaking a systematic review for the first time, or understanding how to critically appraise a systematic review to inform treatment or policy decisions.
The Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) predominantly works in healthcare research, and examples throughout the course will draw on our expertise in that area. The focus of the course is on systematic reviews of interventions, rather than reviews of qualitative data. However, the course is suitable for anyone with an interest in systematic reviewing, regardless of their role or discipline.
The course is designed to be interactive and give plenty of opportunity for interaction and discussion with experts and other learners in your groups, so you really have a chance to apply and strengthen your learning. Throughout there will be opportunities for ‘ask the expert’ clinics and ‘question & answer’ sessions with tutors to discuss your specific learning or research questions. There will also be group work and other interactive exercises for you to complete alongside your peers.
A certificate of attendance will be given out to all participants on completion of the course.
Times, dates and daily work
There are around 2 - 2.5 hours of live teaching on the course per day, with additional reading, video viewing or exercises on some days. You should expect to dedicate around half a day each day to the learning on the course.
The course runs over eight days on two consecutive weeks. It runs from Monday to Thursday on week 1, and Tuesday to Friday on week 2, with some homework over the weekend.
The course will start at 9.30am and finish at approximately 12.30pm (UK time) each day. A detailed course outline with more information about specific timings and how individual modules will be run is available by downloading CRD Course Outline (PDF , 276kb).
We will send you a link to access the course website with learning materials and links for live sessions approximately 2 weeks before the course starts. Live sessions will be held on Zoom.
You will need a webcam and microphone (preferably a headset) and a Google Account for accessing some exercise materials.
As one of the longest standing training courses of its kind in the UK, our course continues to receive excellent feedback from attendees year after year. Here is a selection of comments from learners who have attended the course:
“I liked the engagement and dedication and availability of the instructors. They never rushed to close the sessions but instead encouraged us to ask questions.”
“The course website is brilliant and really clear”
“The balance was really good. I never got bored and I liked that the amount of work in-between sessions was not too heavy.”
“There was plenty of explanation and normal non-jargon language so I was able to keep up.”
“I found the resources on the website very useful and I will be returning to them to complete my systematic review.”
“The exercises were great to start applying new knowledge. I found the course really well paced.”
“Very thorough course with knowledgeable experts.”
Registration fees for those who work in the commercial or industry sector is £850
We offer a discounted fee for students and those who work in the academic or public sector. The reduced fee is £700. To obtain this use the promotional code SRCA2022 during booking.
Registration fees are UK VAT exempt.
Maximum Number of participants: 40 – we operate a waiting list once courses are fully booked.
Registration for the course is completed online with the method of payment being by Credit or Debit card.
A Certificate of Attendance will be given out to all participants on completion of the full course.
1. Cancellation 30 days or more before the event: course fees refunded (less 10% administrative
Cancellation less than 30 days before event is: no refund
In the event of the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination cancelling the course a full refund will
be given, but the University of York will not accept responsibility for any additional costs
incurred by the delegate.
2. Substitutions may be made at any time before the course starts provided you inform us in writing
3. All payments must be received before attending the training course.
4. Deferrals may be given under extenuating circumstances but will only be valid until the end of the
following year after which there can be no further deferral or refund.
5. Through registering for a course applicants are deemed to have accepted the above Terms and
For administrative/booking enquiries, please contact Susan Sutton on firstname.lastname@example.org