Systematic Reviews in Intervention Research

"Learn to perform a meta-analysis."

Systematic reviews play a crucial role in this era of evidence based medicine and clinical guidelines. Systematic reviews use a systematic and transparent approach to identify all relevant articles, appraise the risk of bias, examine sources of variation, and, if appropriate, meta-analyse the results of the primary studies. This course will offer a mix of lectures and practicals that will help the student to perform all of these steps in practice. In addition, specific challenges to systematic reviews and new developments will be highlighted.

Suitable for: 
Knowledge of statistical methods is required, as well as understanding of research designs. Appreciation of the design of intervention studies would in particular be helpful.
Start date(s): 
Face-to-face: 1 february 2021. Online: 21 february 2021 and 7 june 2021
Time investment: 
Face-to-face: five full working days. Online: three weeks for 14 hours a week.
University Medical Center Utrecht
Faculty of Medicine
Fee:  This fee is exempt from VAT
Face-to-face: €870 Online: €435
Extra information: 

Face-to-face: During the course, home work will be assigned. These home work assignments take approximately 2 hours each day, and together will constitute the course exam. In order to obtain a course certificate the course exam must completed and graded as sufficient / satisfactory, while minimally 9 of the 10 sessions (90%) should be attended.

Due to the COVID-19 measures, the face-to-face course cannot take place at the UMC Utrecht. We offer the course online. Make sure that you are full-time available.

Online: This course includes a multiple-choice exam, which is the only part of the course that is not online. If you are able and willing to take the exam in Utrecht, the Netherlands, we are available to proctor the exam for you without any costs. If you have to take the exam from a different location, you need a proctor. This proctor may ask you to pay for their expenses. 

Meta-analysis is the statistical approach to synthesis of the results from a series of studies. During this course we will present and discuss the rational and use of meta-analysis. We will discuss the strengths and limitations, and provide step-by-step guidance on how to perform a meta-analysis based on examples that either has provoked discussion on their logic and methods, or that have challenged conventional beliefs in medicine and biomedical sciences.

By the end of the course, you are able to:

  • Explain the rationale for performing a systematic review
  • List the key steps of a systematic review
  • Formulate a proper review question addressing a therapeutic dilemma
  • Understand the design of a comprehensive and efficient search strategy to identify relevant  RCT’s in electronic bibliographic databases
  • Explain the main types of bias in a therapeutic study
  • Assess primary studies (RCT) for their risk of bias and report these findings
  • Explain the difference between  fixed and random effects approach and their assumptions
  • Perform & interpret the findings of a meta-analysis (fixed & random approach)
  • Interpret the different measures of heterogeneity
  • Interpret the results of a meta-regression model
  • List and explain the different types of reporting bias
  • Critically appraise systematic reviews


Please contact our Educational Office:
​088 75 69710