Module Catalogue

HSC8055 : Introduction to systematic reviewing and critical appraisal

  • Offered for Year: 2017/18
  • Module Leader(s): Ms Dawn Craig
  • Lecturer: Mr Eoin Moloney, Dr Richard Lee, Mr Stephen Rice, Mrs Fiona Beyer, Ms Shannon Robalino, Dr Amy O'Donnell
  • Other Staff: Ms Linda Errington
  • Owning School: FMS Graduate School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


The aim of this module is to provide all students with a basic grounding in systematic review methods and critical appraisals so that they are able to undertake their own first systematic review.

An introduction to systematic reviewing and critical appraisal methods will provide all students with a basic grounding in conducting a systematic review. Combining lectures, practical sessions and self-directed learning this module seeks to provide the first time systematic reviewer with a sound grounding in the principles, design, enactment, analysis and synthesising of a systematic review. On completion of the module students will have had experience of conducting their own systematic reviews, as well as undertaking critical appraisal of the data. This module will equip all students with the necessary knowledge and skills to plan, conduct and analyse their first systematic review.

Outline Of Syllabus

The introduction to systematic reviewing and critical appraisal will cover the following topics:
•       An introduction to systematic reviewing, its approaches and epistemology;
•       How to design a research question
•       Data management
•       Developing a search strategy, databases and data sifting, including a practical session
•       Quantitative review methods and ways of appraising the data – including introduction to meta-analysis
•       Qualitative review methods and ways of appraising the data
•       Synthesising the data and writing up

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture151:0015:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion121:0012:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical13:003:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudySkills practice121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyProject work121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity111:0011:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study111:0011:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

This module aims to provide students with the confidence and skills to undertake their own systematic review and critical appraisal.

In order to ensure that all students are at a similar level of comprehension students will be asked to read and prepare prior to the face to face lectures and practical sessions.

The face to face teaching is designed to introduce systematic reviewing and critical appraisals and will equip students with the skills to carry out a system review. There will be a mixture of lectures and seminars/practical sessions during which students will be encouraged to interact with one another and discuss/practise the use of systematic reviews. There is included a practical session which is the most effective way to impart the skills required for carrying out database searches.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M100To produce a systematic review protocol evaluating a health intervention (2000 word count)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Students will write a 2000 word protocol for a systematic review based on either qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods incorporating critical appraisal methodologies

This assessment will enable us to assess student’s skills and knowledge in planning and designing a systematic review. Students will be expected to describe how they would develop a search strategy, how they would interrogate the data, data extraction, critical appraisal of the data as well as how they would synthesise the results

Reading Lists