GSMS Course Registration

All GSMS courses

Only GSMS PhD students (including BCN PhD students) can participate in these courses. Use your P-number to register (ask your Personnel Office).

For registration please go to Upcoming courses.

Course: Systematic reviews and meta-analysis

Many PhD students will perform a systematic review as part of their research project. In some systematic reviews the results of several studies will be combined in a meta-analysis. This course will provide an overview of the steps, principal and practical, of systematic reviews, including design and conduct of literature searches, data extraction and presentation, methodological quality (risk of bias) assessment of studies and examination of publication bias and other biases. The course will provide statistical methods for the combination of results in meta-analysis. The focus of the course is systematic reviews of intervention studies. We will not discuss other types of reviews, such as scoping reviews, systematic reviews of diagnostic test accuracy studies, or systematic reviews of observational studies (i.e. etiology, prognosis).

The general teaching aim is to provide PhD students with knowledge and skills needed to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis, under the supervision of experienced researchers.

The 7-day intensive course will include a mix of lectures and hands-on work in groups and computer practical´s. Senior staff will be involved as lecturers and tutors. Students will have to read articles prior to and during the course (evenings) corresponding to a total of 10 hours of student work.

By the end of the course the PhD students will be able to

  1. Formulate a clear research question for a systematic review and understand their key motivations for doing the systematic review
  2. Specify the eligibility criteria for a systematic review
  3. Develop a search strategy for a systematic review
  4. Select an appropriate quality assessment tool
  5. Prepare and perform a quality appraisal and data extraction of eligible studies for a systematic review
  6. Able to discover publication bias
  7. Identify, describe quantify and discuss sources of heterogeneity among the studies in a systematic review
  8. Develop a statistical analysis plan for a systematic review including weighing quality in this process
  9. Able to conduct a meta-analysis, subgroup and sensitivity analyses
  10. Conduct, report and update a systematic review
  11. Use this knowledge to assess the quality of systematic review performed by others  

Assumed pre-knowledge
A basic understanding of the design, analysis, strengths and weaknesses of randomized controlled trials and observational studies.

Compulsory literature
Binder with course material.

Course material via NESTOR and books.

100% participation required. Final assignment: writing a protocol for a systematic review on your own topic.

Extra information
Examples in this course are related to Public Health, Epidemiology, and Health Services Research.

EC (with exam)


Course coordinator

  • Nynke Smidt, PhD



Target Groups

  • PhD students

Contact person

Renate Kroese,

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