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Evidence Synthesis - HEA00148M

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  • Department: Health Sciences
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Elena Ratschen
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24
    • See module specification for other years: 2024-25

Module summary

Evidence Synthesis is often considered the most reliable form of health research. Led by an experienced and interdisciplinary team, this module offers students an introduction to best-practice evidence synthesis methods, including protocol writing, literature searching, synthesis of qualitative and quantitative evidence, meta-analysis, and knowledge translation. Teaching is delivered in a combination of lectures and seminars and draws on methods established by leading organisations in the field, such as Cochrane. Upon completion of this module, students will have a solid understanding of evidence synthesis methods which they may wish to apply as part of their dissertation project.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2023-24

Module aims

  • To equip students with the knowledge and skills to undertake evidence synthesis.

  • To provide students with an understanding of the principles of effective knowledge translation.

Module learning outcomes

  1. Appreciate the importance of evidence synthesis and in particular systematic reviews in applied health and social care research and practice.

  2. Demonstrate comprehensive understanding of key features of a systematic review that enables students to apply these features in their own work

  3. Formulate a review question and identify appropriate evidence synthesis methods.

  4. Identify and critically consider and discuss methods to synthesise different forms of evidence, including qualitative and quantitative data.

  5. Develop an awareness of the principles of knowledge translation especially in relation to evidence synthesis.

  6. Articulate insight in applying different approaches knowledge translation.

Module content

  • Introduction to evidence synthesis
  • Research designs in evidence synthesis
  • Searching for evidence
  • Study selection and data extraction
  • Synthesis 1: Risk of bias, protocols and narrative synthesis
  • Synthesis 2a: Meta-analysis
  • Synthesis 2b: Meta-analysis
  • Synthesis 3: Qualitative evidence synthesis
  • Synthesis 4: Mixed-methods evidence synthesis
  • Automation of systematic reviews
  • Reporting and knowledge translation


Task Length % of module mark
Essay : Protocol
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Essay : Protocol
N/A 100

Module feedback

Written feedback for the summative assessment is provided on the standard proforma, within the timescale specified in the programme handbook.

Indicative reading

Introductory module about conducting systematic reviews from Cochrane Interactive Learning:

Learning on the module can be supported through reading some key texts and resources:

Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions:

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.