Date(s) - 28/11/2019
9:00 am - 12:30 pm

NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London
16th Floor, Tower Wing, Guy’s Hospital, Great Maze Pond

This is an introductory course for anyone who is interested in finding out about how evidence from several studies on the same topic can be usefully combined. This would suit you if, for example, you are familiar with reading quantitative research papers, or have undertaken a literature review to inform the background for a paper or grant. Concepts are explained through presentation of a real example and no mathematical formulae are presented.

The last part of the course consists of four short worked examples for participants to work through in order to reinforce understanding of the key concepts.

Course description

At the level of government, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) commission systematic reviews of research literature and their analysis (meta-analyses) in order to inform important clinical guidelines and public health guidance.

For an individual who is preparing a grant application, or writing the background and discussion sections of a paper, it is important to be aware of existing findings in the literature from meta-analyses or reviews. It is typically required that a proposed study needs to be justified, or that the results from research need to be put into the context of existing evidence. This course aims to equip participants to understand and interpret meta-analyses by presenting an informative example.

This course will cover:

  • The steps of a systematic review
  • Steps of a meta-analysis and finding pooled estimates
  • Interpretation of the pooled effect (Forest plot)
  • Assessing whether studies are heterogeneous or consistent in their results
  • ComMonday biases in research studies and meta-analyses (publication bias)
  • The need to assess study quality
  • Further types of analysis (subgroups, sensitivity).

Learning objectives

By the end of the session, participants should be able to:

  • Appreciate the benefit from carefully planning a systematic literature review
  • Understand how the results from individual studies are represented graphically
  • Identify and interpret the overall pooled effect and the 95% confidence interval
  • Explain why there may be heterogeneity in the results of the individual studies
  • Be more familiar with types of bias in primary studies and meta-analyses.

Who can attend?

The courses are free for health care professionals employed by organisations associated with the National Institute of Health Research Biomedical Research Centre at Guy’s & St Thomas’ and King’s College London:

  • King’s College London
  • Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
  • South London and the Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust
  • King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • St George’s University of London
  • St George’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Places are booked on a first come, first served basis. If the module is full, your name will be placed on a waiting list and if a place becomes available you will contacted at the latest 72 hours beforehand.

Non Attendance Policy

The courses in this programme are very popular and are often oversubscribed. If you are unable to attend a course you are booked on to you must notify us 72 hours in advance so we can offer the place to someone else.

If you do not attend on the day and are unable to provide a satisfactory explanation you may be removed from future course bookings.

For further information please contact the NIHR Guy’s and St Thomas’ BRC Research Training Programme at