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Introduction to Evidence Reviews

Introduction to Evidence Reviews
This course is designed to provide a rapid overview of evidence review methodologies.



Policy-makers, practitioners and researchers want to have access to the best possible evidence to inform decisions and choices. Evidence reviews can provide this but it’s important to choose the appropriate review method for the aims of the study. This course will introduce rigorous evidence reviewing methods, including systematic reviews, rapid evidence assessments, rapid reviews, scoping reviews, evidence maps and literature reviews, and assumes no prior knowledge of these methods. Participants will explore the usefulness of review methods, their similarities and differences, strengths and limitations, and be guided through the key review stages - search, screening, data extraction and data synthesis. The course will include practical sessions and tips for how to design evidence reviews appropriate for different policy questions, timescales and budgets.


Learning outcomes


By the end of the course participants will:

  • Understand the differences between the different types of reviews, their key features, strengths and limitations
  • Be able to formulate appropriate review questions for policy clients
  • Understand the importance of having a clear and succinct review protocol and know how to put it together
  • Understand how to locate relevant studies (e.g. through searching and screening)
  • Be able to extract relevant and appropriate data from sources in responding to reviews aims
  • Understand how to assess and critique the quality and content of sources/evidence (e.g. weight of evidence)
  • Be clear on the key principles of data synthesis




  • Systematic review
  • Rapid evidence assessment
  • Rapid review
  • Scoping review
  • Evidence maps
  • Literature reviews
  • Searching
  • Screening
  • Data extraction
  • Quality appraisal
  • Data synthesis


Who will benefit

Researchers and research commissioners in need of a refresher or who are new to evidence reviews.

* This course is designed to provide a rapid overview of evidence review methodologies. No experience of evidence reviews is required, though some basic understanding of social research concepts is desirable.


Course tutors


Daniel Phillips is a Research Director in NatCen’s Evaluation team where he specialises in the design of evidence reviews, as well as experimental and quasi-experimental impact evaluations. He has methodological expertise in systematic review, rapid review, evidence mapping and other evidence synthesis approaches. Daniel is also an Associate Editor at the Campbell Collaboration, a group promoting systematic reviews and other evidence synthesis for evidence-based policy and practice.

Dr Jeffrey DeMarco is a Research Director in the Crime and Justice team at NatCen with a range of experience in both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. He has developed and led numerous evidence reviews. His expertise is focused within the fields of procedural justice and policing; cybercrime; adolescents and crime; and violence prevention.


  This course contributes 6 hours to the MRS CPD programme

11/14/2019 9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
GMT Standard Time
This event is full.

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