This workshop provided an introduction to systematic reviews as well as offering some practical tips on how to conduct a successful systematic review for social research.

The reliability and accuracy of systematic reviews is based on a comprehensive, methodical and replicable approach to gathering and assessing literature in order to answer a specific research question. They can help to support the decisions of practitioners by combining all of the findings reported in the research literature to evaluate the efficacy of interventions in social policy. Many of the theories, methodologies and techniques have evolved within the field of health and are often associated with the work of the Cochrane Collaboration. The application of these methods to social research questions has required a reappraisal of the approach to allow for the influence of social context on particular interventions. This workshop provided an introduction to this debate as well as offering some practical tips on how to conduct a successful systematic review for social research.

Objectives

By the end of the workshop, participants were able to 

  • Understand the distinguishing features of the systematic review method
  • Understand the different approaches to systematic reviews, including Cochrane Reviews and qualitative synthesis
  • Be aware of methodological issues and options for conducting systematic reviews
  • Understand the importance of planning reviews and literature searches and also the key elements of review protocols
  • Be able to develop an effective literature search strategy in order to implement it on an online database
  • Understand approaches to analysing literature for a specific research question