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Johns Hopkins University

Introduction to Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Johns Hopkins University via Coursera


We will introduce methods to perform systematic reviews and meta-analysis of clinical trials. We will cover how to formulate an answerable research question, define inclusion and exclusion criteria, search for the evidence, extract data, assess the risk of bias in clinical trials, and perform a meta-analysis.

Upon successfully completing this course, participants will be able to:

- Describe the steps in conducting a systematic review
- Develop an answerable question using the “Participants Interventions Comparisons Outcomes” (PICO) framework
- Describe the process used to collect and extract data from reports of clinical trials
- Describe methods to critically assess the risk of bias of clinical trials
- Describe and interpret the results of meta-analyses


  • Introduction
    • To get the ball rolling, we'll take a broad overview of what to expect in this course and then introduce you to the high-level concepts of systematic review and meta-analysis and take a look at who produces and uses systematic reviews.
  • Framing the Question
    • In this module, we will discuss how to frame a question, as well as scope, elements, and refining the question.
  • Searching Principles and Bias Assessment
    • In this module we will look at finding the evidence, as well as key sources, search strategy, and assessing the risk of bias.
  • Minimizing Metabias, Qualitative Synthesis, and Interpreting Results
    • In this module, we will cover minimizing metabias, selection bias, information bias, how to report transparently, qualitative synthesis, and interpreting results.
  • Planning the Meta-Analysis and Statistical Methods
    • This module will cover the planning of your meat-analysis and the statistical methods for meta-analysis.
  • Wrap Up and Final Peer Review Assignment
    • In this final module, we'll wrap up with a look back at the key concepts covered over the past few weeks. Afterwards, you will submit your final Peer Review Assignment and evaluate some of your classmates' submissions.

Taught by

Tianjing Li and Kay Dickersin


5.0 rating, based on 6 Class Central reviews

4.8 rating at Coursera based on 3215 ratings

Start your review of Introduction to Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

  • This is an excellent introductory course to the basics of conducting systematic reviews with or without meta-analyses, and a good prelude to books that specifically deal with these techniques. A background knowledge is mandatory, though, in order to make the most of this course.
  • Anonymous
    This course is very well designed and provides great insight into the systematic review and meta-analysis.
  • Anonymous
    Excellent course for entry-level users and developers of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. You can learn a lot in a very reasonable time. If you want to explore deeper in the field the instructors suggest where you can find more information and get further training and help.

    Highly recommended! Nice taking this course! Thanks for it
  • Jenny Keo

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