Conducting a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis in Biomedical Research
We live in times of evidence-based medicine, where we use the best evidence available to make decisions about patient care and healthcare interventions at population level. But what is the best evidence available? Usually a research question is studied more than once, often by independent research teams in different locations. In many instances, the results of these multiple small studies are diverse and conflicting, making it difficult to draw a conclusion regarding the answer to the question under study. That’s where systematic reviews come in. Systematic reviews integrate and synthesize the results of several independent studies on a given research question in order to provide a summary of the literature that can inform practice. Moreover, systematic reviews may reveal heterogeneity in results, leading to new research hypotheses about sources of such heterogeneity. Systematic reviews can be qualitative or quantitative. Meta-analysis, top-ranking in the hierarchy of evidence, is a statistical procedure that in some cases can be applied to a quantitative systematic review.
In this hands-on two-day online workshop, we will take participants through all the steps of conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis on a biomedical topic, including developing a research questions, defining inclusion and exclusion criteria, developing a protocol, designing a systematic search, critically appraising studies, screening studies, extracting data, performing a meta-analysis, and synthesizing the evidence both qualitatively and quantitatively. Specifically, after completion of this workshop, the participant will be able to:
- Describe the utility of a systematic review and meta-analysis.
- Apply the essential steps for conducting a systematic review.
- Design and conduct a meta-analysis.
- Critically appraise published systematic reviews and meta-analyses.