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Primer on Systematic Reviews and Research Synthesis

Thursday, 01 Sep 2016

In May 2016, Cochrane South Africa and the Centre for Evidence Based Health Care at the University of Stellenbosch presented a two-day primer on Systematic Reviews and Research Synthesis funded by the Effective Health Care Research Consortium. The session was held in Pretoria and included participants from the newly appointed primary healthcare guideline committee of the South African National Department of Health’s Essential Drugs (EDL) programme.

Participants and facilitators at the Primer on Systematic Reviews and Research Synthesis, May 2016

The programme included unpacking the rationale for research synthesis; identifying the components of a high-quality Cochrane systematic review; accessing systematic reviews of effects after formulating clear questions using PICO; critically appraising reviews of effects, including statistical interpretation of meta-analysis; understanding the importance of grading evidence, including being able to interpret a 'Summary of findings' table; and outlining the key components of a systematic review of effects that need to be considered specifically for application to health policy and practice.

Due to the audience, the focus was largely on Cochrane Reviews of the effects of interventions that impact policies on medicines relevant to EDL.

An online learning management site was also created to which all participants were given access. It contained all the course materials and offered an opportunity for ongoing learning reflection following the course.

Report prepared by Michelle Galloway, Communciations Officer, Cochrane South Africa.