Methods & ToolsTools
Tools

This part of the website is about the tools used to support EPPI-Centre systematic reviews. These tools have been developed to assist with the practical aspects of systematic research synthesis. 

The main types of tool are:

  • Guidelines tools - i) the REPOSE Guidelines for the reporting of education research; and ii) detailed sets of questions for coding at the Keywording and Data-extraction stage
  • Data management tools - structures and tools for downloading, storing and managing information on studies used in the reviews
  • EPPI-Reviewer - the EPPI-Centre's online tool for research synthesis
  • MetaLight - which supports the teaching and learning of meta-analysis
  • CCEMG - EPPI-Centre Cost Converter - a tool for assisting with currency conversion.

In addition to these tools, reviewers may find some of the databases that the EPPI-Centre holds useful resources for conducting systematic research synthesis. Links to these can be found on the Databases page.

Finally, Using Research for Effective Health Promotion is a book which contains details of some of our research methods.

Reporting and keywording/data extraction guidelines

Since the quality of systematic reviews often depends on the quality of the reporting of primary research, the EPPI-Centre has developed guidelines (the 'REPOSE' guidelines) outlining the types of information that are needed to synthesise primary research effectively in education.  Click here for more information.

Currently the EPPI-Centre has a number guidelines for assisting with the Keywording and Data Extraction stages of reviews. The guidelines provide information on standardised strategies for coding the reports of primary studies included in reviews. 

EPPI-Centre Education Core Keywording Strategy and keywording sheet consist of guidelines for classifying educational research using a system of standardised keywords (Draft version 0.9.7 May 2003) on the online reviewing tool, EPPI-Reviewer (See Data Management tools below). The Education Core Keywording Strategy is used to code the online database of education references (see the Databases Page for more information).

The EPPI-Centre has also produced a standardised strategy for keywording health promotion research.  Please contact the EPPI-Centre for further information about any of these tools.

Data management tools

Systematic research synthesis requires researchers to search for and identify a large body of studies that may be relevant to a review (see the Databases page in this site for links to reference searching facilities). Reviewers will then need to download references for these studies into some references manager software such as EndNote or Reference Manager. Once the references have been downloaded they will need to be screened for relevance to the review. Lastly these studies will go through a process of being coded and assessed. Managing all this information is often a very difficult task. The EPPI-Centre has developed some tools for assisting reviewers to manage this process.

EPPI-Reviewer

EPPI-Reviewer is a web application that enables researchers to manage the entire lifecyle of a review in a single location.  Users are able to upload studies for screening, complete keywording and data extractions and analyse the results over the internet. The newest version of the program is EPPI-Reviewer 4. Full details of the program and its capabilities is available on the EPPI-Reviewer 4 gateway. A free one month trial can be set up at this site.

If you already have an account EPPI-Reviewer 4 can be accessed by clicking here.

EPPI-Reviewer 3 is still accessible  while further information about it can be found here. A conference poster from 2006 that describes some of its earlier development is available online.

RIS Export

The RIS EXPORT utility will take your search result file and return an RIS formatted text file that can be imported into most reference management software including EPPI-Reviewer 4. To use the utility, upload your search result file and select a filter based on the format of the file. There are hundreds of filters available for many different formats of file.

The RIS EXPORT utility can be found on the 'EPPI-Reviewer 4 gateway' here

MetaLight

MetaLight is a software application designed to support the teaching and learning of meta-analysis. It is freely available and, as it uses the Silverlight browser plugin, can be run on just about any PC, thus facilitating its use in teaching environments such as PC labs.

Online CCEMG - EPPI-Centre Cost Converter

As part of a collaboration between the Campbell & Cochrane Economics Methods Group and the EPPI-Centre, we have recently published online a web-based tool that will adjust estimates of cost expressed in one currency and price year to another target currency and price year. The tool uses up to date data from the OECD and IMF. A paper describing its development and methods can be found in: Shemilt I, Thomas J, Morciano M (2010) A web-based tool for adjusting costs to a specific target currency and price year. Evidence and Policy 6 (1) 51-59.

  
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