Having never been involved with conducting a systematic review, I chose the Systematic Reviews and Evidence Synthesis module in order to learn the key steps in undertaking a systematic review and thought it would be a useful tool to have for potential future use. The course layout was well structured with a good balance between lectures, group discussions and computer sessions. The lectures were delivered at a great level of detail which well prepared us for the process of conducting a systematic review. It was interesting to learn how to analyse different types of evidence such as qualitative research, effectiveness evidence and economic evaluations. Practising scoping searches and performing meta-analysis in the computer practicals was particularly useful.
The assessed group presentation, where we had to develop a review question and give initial ideas on a review protocol, enabled us to get some hands on experience at practising what we had learnt in the course. It was useful to see how different groups approached the task and it helped to improve our critical appraisal skills. Although I am not undertaking a systematic review dissertation, I feel that the skills I have learnt, particularly with evidence synthesis, have already been and will be applicable to any type of scientific research and writing.
Written by Kaiseree Dias
Kaiseree is a full-time MPH student. After graduating with a degree in Medical Science from the University of Birmingham in 2014, she started the Masters course later the same year in order to learn more about statistics and epidemiology, and to gain perspective on the relevance of her medical science knowledge at a population level.