Systematic reviews are a key element of evidence-based healthcare. By systematically identifying, critically appraising and integrating the findings of all relevant studies on a topic area they provide a high quality summary of the existing evidence on that topic. Being able to identify relevant literature and critically appraise findings are key skills for all future doctors. Being able to conduct a systematic review is also a core skill for those interested in pursuing an academic clinical career path.
Inspired by medical students who have successfully contributed to systematic reviews over the past few years, this group was set up by Dr Juliet Usher-Smith and Prof. Simon Griffin from the Primary Care Unit and Isla Kuhn from the Medical Library in 2018. The aims of the group are:
- To provide medical students with basic training in systematic review methods;
- To link interested students with researchers across the Cambridge Biomedical Campus who are planning or doing systematic reviews to provide them with potential opportunities to contribute to systematic reviews, be co-authors on research publications and present at national conferences;
- To provide an opportunity for students doing systematic reviews to share knowledge, skills and experience with each other.
This year, the basic training will be provided through three 1 hour lecture-based sessions and three 1.5 hour practical sessions during the Year 4 Review & Integration weeks. The lecture-based sessions will cover the core elements in conducting systematic reviews. The practical sessions will provide additional opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience of searching the literature, screening papers for inclusion, extracting data, assessing the quality of studies and synthesizing data. Students are required to attend the corresponding lecture-based sessions before attending the practical sessions. The sessions are open to all medical students in any year group.
Dates for this year are:
- Lecture-based sessions (all in Clinical School Lecture Theatre 2 from 5.30-6.30pm)
- Introduction to systematic reviews and searching the literature – Tuesday 22nd October 2019
- Screening papers for inclusion – Tuesday 3rd December 2019
- Extracting data, assessing quality of studies and synthesizing data – Monday 16th March 2020
- Practical sessions (all in the Clinical School e-learning rooms)
- Searching the literature – Wednesday 23rd October 2019 (5.45 – 7.15pm)
- Screening papers for inclusion – Thursday 5th December 2019 (5.30 – 7pm)
- Extraction data, assessing quality of studies and synthesizing data – Thursday 19th March 2020 (5.30 – 7pm)
A list of potential systematic reviews for students to contribute to will be added here and emailed to students who have attended after the first sessions in October. You can view the list of systematic review projects that were conducted by students in 2018/19 here. We cannot guarantee that there will be projects for all students in 2019/20.
Looking for more information?
If you are a student and have any questions about the group, please contact Mark Jenkins.
If you are a researcher and have a systematic review which you have started or are planning and think would be suitable for one or more medical students to help with then please complete this form: Systematic review proposal form for researchers 2019-2020.