Course Description

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.

Learning objectives

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.

Who should attend?

This course targets researchers, clinicians and academics in the biomedical field who would like to summarize a body of evidence on a given topic so as to decide whether and how to make improvements, or simply want to be able to appraise and interpret systematic reviews and meta-analyses given their significance as the gold standard in the hierarchy of evidence.


On the first day of this two-day workshop, we will start off with an introduction including types of reviews, and the utility of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Once familiar with the basic concepts, participants will learn to develop research questions using PICO framework, establish eligibility criteria, perform a systematic search using PubMed and EMBASE, and screen studies using a tool called “Rayyan”. Participants will have opportunity to practice each of the steps.

On day two, we will have a look at performing quality assessment of selected studies using a critical appraisal tool and we will discuss best practices for data extraction. Participants will then be introduced to meta-analysis, including the conditions for performing a meta-analyses, methods and challenges. Participants will practice performing meta-analysis. Once we have gone through all the steps of generating findings for a systematic review and meta-analysis, the participant will learn best practices for synthesizing findings, visualization and write-up. We will wrap up with practicing evaluating published systematic reviews and meta-analyses.


It is recommended that participants have some experience with the software RStudio. Participants are advised to take one of the FAES R or RStudio workshops if they don’t have any prior exposure to R. In addition, participants are encouraged to have a biomedical topic in mind on which they would like to conduct a systematic review.


Introductory R courses and workshops
BIOF 501 | Introduction to R: Step-by-Step Guide

BIOF 017 | Introductory R Boot Camp
BIOF 043 | For True BeginRs



Although no grades are given for courses, each participant will receive Continuing Education Units (CEUs) based on the number of contact hours. One CEU is equal to ten contact hours. Upon completion of this course each participant will receive a certificate, showing completion of the workshop and 1.4 CEUs.


Refund Policy

100% tuition refund for registrations cancelled 14 or more calendar days prior to the start of the workshop.

50% tuition refund for registrations cancelled between 4 to 13 calendar days prior to the start of the workshop.

No refund will be issued for registrations cancelled 3 calendar days or less prior to the start of the workshop.



All cancellations must be received in writing via email to Ms. Carline Coote at registrar@faes.org.

Cancellations received after 4:00 pm (ET) on business days or received on non-business days are time marked for the following business day.


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