Courses & seminarsMSc in Sys Rev for Public Policy and PracticeCourse mapSystematic reviews: meta-analysis, qualitative synthesis, and mixed methods synthesisSystematic reviews: meta-analysis, qualitative synthesis, and mixed methods synthesis
Systematic reviews: meta-analysis, qualitative synthesis, and mixed methods synthesis* (online edition)

What will I gain from taking this course online?

This online course will give you greater flexibility in where and when you study. You will be taught by experienced researchers from the EPPI-Centre in London. See the main Systematic reviews: meta-analysis, qualitative synthesis, and mixed methods synthesis webpage for the course aims and content.

Course themes

The structure of the course is as follows: 

Week Week commencing (2017) Topic
1 17 April Introductory activity
2 24 April Quality assessment
3 1 May Synthesis landscapes/debates
4 8 May What is synthesis? Its stages and methods
5 15 May
6 22 May Configuration: Thematic synthesis
7 29 May
8 5 June
9 12 June Aggregation: meta-analysis
10 19 June
11 26 June Aggregation and configuration: mixed methods synthesis
12 3 July
13 10 July Interpreting your results
  26 August Submission draft assessment (if applicable by 17.00 GMT)
  26 September Submission final assessment (if applicable by 17.00 GMT)


How many hours will I need to study per week?

We estimate that you will need to study between 10-14 hours each week.

How will I study?

This online course will take place in a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). When you register for the course, you will be given full access and information on how to get started. All students will need access, from the start of the course, to a copy of the SAGE 2017 textbook 'An introduction to systematic reviews'**. All other learning materials, activities and exchanges with your fellow students and tutor will take place within the VLE.

Every one or two weeks, you will cover a new ‘unit ’. Instructions on what to do, and by when, will be sent to you electronically. Over each unit , you will carry out a set of learning activities. You will be able to carry out these activities at your own pace and at times of your own choosing so long as you complete the specified tasks by the deadlines set. There are no set times to be online, although these may be organised if there is demand during the course.

Typical activities include:

  • Reading a journal article or book chapter and identifying key themes
  • Critically appraising reports of qualitative and quantitative research
  • Using software to practice meta-analysis and key stages in the synthesis of ‘qualitative’ research
  • Drafting short summaries on a topic, sometimes on your own, sometimes with fellow students
  • Posting comments and observations on your own reading and learning and providing feedback to other students

What materials will I get?

All course materials (such as research articles, activity sheets or podcasts) will be available on Moodle or from open access websites. Participation in the course includes access to EPPI-Reviewer, the EPPI-Centre’s specialized software. You will be able to download or stream these materials onto your computer. A small number of articles may be sent to you by post.

What support will I get throughout the course?

You will work closely throughout the course with highly trained, experienced tutors and administrators from the UCL Institute of Education. You will have access to a range of additional information and student support services from the Institute of Education.


For advice on fees for the 2015/16 academic year, contact us at: The course will only run if there is a viable cohort of students. Click here for standard fees for the academic year 2015/16.

What are the entrance requirements?

Click here to see the academic, technical and language requirements for this course.

How do I book?

Contact us by email or telephone +44 (0)20 7612 6271. Please read our course fees and booking procedures


**An introduction to systematic reviews
Gough D, Oliver S, Thomas J
SAGE Publications Ltd

Students may wish to buy their own copy, borrow one through inter-library loan, or request that their library buys a copy. The second edition of the book can be pre-ordered through the publisher. Read More / order your copy. This book contains required reading for the following courses:

  • Systematic reviews: diversity, design and debate
  • Systematic reviews: meta-analysis, qualitative synthesis, and mixed methods synthesis
  • Research Engagement, Participation, and Impact 


 * 'Systematic reviews: meta-analysis, qualitative synthesis, and mixed methods synthesis' was previously called 'Methods for research synthesis.'

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