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Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis: A Campbell Collaboration Online Course

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For fall 2022, Unit 1 is available for evaluation. The full set of learning materials will be published prior to the spring 2023 term. See the Learning Objectives and Course Outline tabs for the full scope and sequence of the material.

Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis: A Campbell Collaboration Online Course provides an overview of the steps involved in conducting a systematic (scientific) review of results of multiple quantitative studies. These steps include: problem formulation, searching for relevant literature, screening potentially eligible studies, coding and critically appraising studies, synthesizing results across studies using meta-analysis, reporting and disseminating results, and updating or re-analysis of data.

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Description

For fall 2022, Unit 1 is available for evaluation. The full set of learning materials will be published prior to the spring 2023 term. See the Learning Objectives and Course Outline tabs for the full scope and sequence of the material.


When used together, systematic review methods and meta-analysis can produce comprehensive, accurate, and useful summaries of empirical evidence to answer questions that are relevant for policy, practice, and future research. Systematic reviews and meta-analysis can also uncover previously-undetected patterns of results across multiple studies, leading to new discoveries. For these reasons, systematic reviews and meta-analysis have become popular tools that are widely used – and misused – in the social, health, and natural sciences. A growing body of meta research has been used to develop evidence-based guidelines for the conduct and reporting of rigorous systematic reviews and meta-analysis. The Campbell Collaboration developed such guidelines for reviews in the social, behavioral, and economic sciences, and these guidelines undergird the content of this course.

A systematic approach is necessary to identify relevant studies and avoid well-documented sources of bias and error in the dissemination, assessment, and synthesis of research results across studies. Meta-analysis provides a set of statistical tools for analysis and synthesis of quantitative data from two or more studies.

The course provides an introduction to the methods of systematic reviews and meta-analysis. It is appropriate for graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, faculty, and senior researchers in institutions of higher education. It is geared for participants who have already completed introductory graduate level training in research methodology and statistics. 

Access to the current (trial) version of the course is free of charge. The content of this course may not be modified or adapted for other uses.

Additional information

Course Type

What students will learn

By the time they finish this course [Unit 1 only], students will be able to:

  • Identify the knowledge and skills required to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis.
  • Identify key components of a systematic review.
  • Identify different types of systematic reviews.
  • Describe systematic review methods.
  • Describe strengths and limitations of systematic reviews.
  • Identify key components of meta-analysis.
  • Describe purposes of meta-analysis.
  • Describe primary methods of meta-analysis.
  • Describe strengths and limitations of meta-analysis.
  • Identify the knowledge and skills required to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis.
  • Explain why systematic reviews require teams.
  • Describe roles of advisory board members.
  • Describe the amount of time, level of effort, and resources needed to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis.
  • Identify factors that contribute to the amount of time, level of effort, and resources needed.
  • Identify guidelines for the conduct and reporting of systematic reviews and meta-analysis.

Learning objectives by module

COMING SOON

Course assessments, activities, and outline

COMING SOON

Other course details

4-8 weeks, partial semester

October 2022

  1. Valentine, J. C., Littell, J. H., & Young, S. (Eds.). Systematic reviews and meta-analysis: A Campbell Collaboration online course. Open Learning Initiative, 2022. Available from https://oli.cmu.edu/courses/systematic-reviews-and-meta-analysis/
  2. See course Units for information on contributions of other authors: Pigott, T. D., Premji, Z., and Engelbert, M.

System requirements

OLI system requirements, regardless of course:

  • internet access
  • an operating system that supports the latest browser update
  • the latest browser update (Chrome recommended; Firefox, Safari supported; Edge and Internet Explorer are supported but not recommended)
  • pop-ups enabled
  • cookies enabled

Some courses include exercises with exceptions to these requirements, such as technology that cannot be used on mobile devices.

This course’s system requirements:

  • none listed (subject to change)

Cost and payment options

FREE during pilot phase

Students are prompted for payment during the OLI course registration process, and can pay with a credit card or an OLI Payment Code purchased from your campus bookstore.

The two payment options presented to students during their OLI course registration process: credit card payment or OLI Payment Code redemption.
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