Topics covered: systematic literature reviews, literature search, heterogeneity of study results, fixed versus random effects, small study bias and publication bias, introduction to R
In many healthcare domains, there is an abundance of literature on the same topics. When multiple studies have been published with a similar research question, e.g., estimating the efficacy of a specific intervention compared to placebo, they are unlikely to report exactly the same effect size. Effect sizes may differ in order of magnitude, in whether they are significantly different from zero, or may even differ in sign. Those differences in results between studies can arise due to differences in source population, study methods, and sampling variance, amongst others. Both for researchers and for professionals who are expected to interpret and apply the results of scientific research, it is vital to be able to summarize and review all relevant literature in one’s own domain of interest in a systematic and reproducible way. In this module, students will learn to apply meta analysis techniques (using R) in the context of systematic literature reviews.
Assessment methods: attendance and active participation, individual paper