Introductory-level systematic review

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Individual assignment (35% of final grade)

Number of words: 1,500-1,700 (not including title page, references or grid)

Assignments in this subject are complex and will need to be completed over a couple of weeks. It is highly unlikely that you will be able to produce a review of an acceptable standard a few hours before the assignment is due. It is through the process of doing the assignment and the related exercises that you will gain useful skills.

In health care the purpose of systematic reviews is to summarize the best evidence from research. The conduct of a systematic review is itself recognised as research. The type of evidence summarised in a systematic review will depend on the research question asked. Systematic reviews cover a wide range of research questions and are used extensively in contemporary health care.

Structure of your review

Introduction

  • Brief background on topic and why a review is needed
  • Research question and/or objectives (this should tell readers what the review aimed to do)

Method and Analysis

  • Description of the search strategy (include why you chose the studies that you included)
  • Description of the critical appraisal process (describe what you did) from at least four relevant papers

Synthesis

  • Narrative summaries (of key aspects, for example, study design, study participants, intervention/exposures, outcomes measured, and results/findings) from at least four relevant papers. This is where you summarise the key characteristics from each study (note this is NOT a summary of each study but a summary of the information in the columns of your grid. You will need to use your judgement about which information is important to include in the text of your review).
  • Comparison from different studies (similarities, differences, gaps, inconsistencies).

Conclusion

  • What is the answer to your research question? Did you meet your research objectives?
  • Analysis of strengths and limitations of the included studies and identification of any gaps to address in future studies.

Attachments (These are NOT included in the word count)

  • Reference list
  • You HAVE TO include your grid/table as an attachment.

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