Introduction to systematic reviews: online learning module

Introduction to systematic reviews: a pathway


This first part in our series of online learning modules is the best place to begin your exploration of Cochrane and systematic reviews. This resource provides an overview of the rationale and process of undertaking a systematic review. It also tells you a bit about the Cochrane, its history, impact and available support. This presentation requires Adobe Flash Player to run.

Note that this module is free to access. To access the other modules in the series, you must be logged in using your Cochrane Archie account, or have a paid licence.

After using this resource, you should be able to...
  • Define a systematic review
  • Differentiate between systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and narrative reviews
  • Recognize the importance of systematic reviews in making informed decisions about treatment options
  • Outline the process of undertaking a Cochrane review
  • Identify different roles of people involved in production of a Cochrane review
  • Describe the history, aims, and structure of Cochrane
Author information: 
Dewey, Ann; Drahota, Amy

The development of these modules has been a partnership between the University of Portsmouth and the UK Cochrane Centre, with the support and contribution of The Cochrane Collaboration and its members.

Funding: The Cochrane Collaboration, the Higher Education Innovation Fund (University of Portsmouth), and the Faculty of Science at the University of Portsmouth. 

Lead programmers: Chris Robinson and Jerry Collingwood.

Lead storyboard developers: Ann Dewey and Amy Drahota.

With additional input: Tara Dean, Carolyne Jacobs, William Maltby and Marialena Trivella.

Voice-over: Ann Dewey

Video animation and additional graphics: Rob Shaw of Frank Floyd Animation

Media production: Richard Hacket, Matt Saxey and Justin Vaughan.

Pilot testers: We thank all those who helped with piloting and provided feedback on their experiences.

Original module contributors: This module is part of an update to the first series of online learning modules released in 2009. We thank the following individuals and teams for contributing to these original modules: Catherine Baldesari, Emily Bennett, Mike Clarke, Tara Dean, Ann Dewey, Sheena Derry, Kay Dickersin, Lewis Dowling, Amy Drahota, Lesley Eales-Reynolds, Phillip French, Diane Gal, Richard Hackett, Bob Healey, Bernie Higgins, Julian Higgins, Sally Hopewell, Lisa Horwill, Christina Howell-Richardson, Toby Lassersson, Nicola McDowell, Andrew Moore, Jo Newbury, Rafael Perera, Chris Robinson, Yvonne Roy, Matt Saxey, Bill Stote, Jessica Thomas, Justin Vaughan, Ryan Webb and Phil Wiffen; eLearning team at the University of Portsmouth; participants at the development workshops in York and at the Cochrane Colloquium in Sao Paulo; those who undertook the initial usability testing; staff of the School of Health Sciences and Social Work, University of Portsmouth; and staff of the UK Cochrane Centre