Evidence Aid systematic review training course 13-14 November 2014

Karen HeadKaren Head: I attended this interesting and thought provoking course on the 13th – 14th November 2014 at Queens University, Belfast.  The course was attended by a great mix of individuals with diverse backgrounds of knowledge and experience; from healthcare professionals to humanitarian workers, academic researchers to high-level, programme managers. Each participant (and I really do mean participant rather than attendee) brought with a wide range of experience and knowledge of systematic reviewing and I believe we all went away having learn something and with plenty more to think about!

The course took the group through what a systematic review is, how to think about setting a ‘reviewable’ question, searching for the evidence, setting eligibility criteria, data extraction and basic analysis of results. Each topic covered was illustrated using a mixture of simple examples either from ‘everyday’ situations which all participants could relate to, or examples related to the humanitarian sector which were provided by the participants from their own fields of expertise.

The teaching on the course was excellent. Mike Clarke was an engaging and charismatic presenter with complete understanding of the course content. The participants were encouraged to think through to find the answers rather than being lectured to, or death by PowerPoint. Everything that was asked of the participants had a reason and was used to illustrate the points being made.

It was an informative, interesting and above all, fun course which I would highly recommend to anyone thinking of completing systematic reviews or who has ground to a halt whilst completing one!

Course Outline

Building on his successful and popular 2-day courses on systematic reviews, Professor Mike Clarke  will run an Evidence Aid course, placing systematic reviews in the context of disasters and the provision of humanitarian aid, both medical and non-medical. The course provides learning and practical experience in a small group setting for many aspects of systematic reviewing. These include question formulation, setting the eligibility criteria, searching and critical appraisal of studies, data extraction, analysis, and reporting. Examples used to illustrate the key steps will be relevant to the humanitarian sector and participants should leave the course feeling much more comfortable about using reviews for decision making and confident about conducting a systematic review.

Background: Professor Mike Clarke

Prof Clarke has 25 years’ experience of the conduct and oversight of rigorous evaluations of the effects of health and social care, and other interventions, actions and strategies. He is the inaugural Director of the All Ireland Hub for Trials Methodology Research, having taken up this post in 2011 after being Director of the UK Cochrane Centre. Prof Clarke has extensive experience of teaching about systematic reviews, and established and continues to teach the module on the University of Oxford’s international MSc in Evidence Based Health Care. He is a leading proponent of the use of systematic reviews in decision making, and a strong interest in increasing the capacity for reviews, and in improving their accessibility, in particular in low- and middle-income countries. He was one of the founders of Evidence Aid after the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 and is Podcast and Journal Club Editor for The Cochrane Library.

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