Not available in 2022/23
HP4E3E      Half Unit
Evidence Review and Synthesis

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Huseyin Naci COW 3.01


This course is compulsory on the Executive MSc in Health Economics and Policy (LSE and Chicago). This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

The content for this course will closely parallel HP4C4E and HP407, which are taught by the same instructor and offered on the Executive MSc Health Economics, Outcomes and Management in Cardiovascular Sciences, and the full-time MSc programmes (Global Health, International Health Policy, and Health Policy, Planning and Financing), respectively. 

Evidence review and synthesis methods (such as systematic reviews and meta-analyses) are increasingly used to evaluate the relative benefits and harms of healthcare interventions. A broad range of decision making bodies across the health care sector (including health technology assessment bodies, drug and medical device licensing agencies, biopharmaceutical industry, and hospitals) need individuals equipped with the methods of reviewing and synthesising the existing body of evidence by performing systematic reviews and meta-analyses.

This course will be focused on the principles of reviewing and synthesising the existing body of literature. The course will have three components. The first will provide the rationale for adopting a systematic approach for evidence review and synthesis. It will equip students with the methods to undertake risk of bias assessments of randomised and non-randomised studies. The second component will focus on the quantitative synthesis of multiple studies in meta-analysis. The third component will discuss the opportunities and challenges of using evidence for decision-making.

The intended learning outcomes of this course will be the following:

  • Describe the rationale for adopting a systematic approach to literature review
  • Explain the principal threats to validity both in individual studies and collections of studies
  • Critically evaluate the quality of randomised and non-randomised studies
  • Assess heterogeneity in a collection of studies
  • Design and perform a systematic review and meta-analysis evaluating a health care intervention in a group setting
  • Describe the opportunities and challenges of using systematic review and meta-analysis findings for decision making


15 hours of lectures, 5 hours of seminars and 3 hours of computer workshops in the MT.

All students will have the opportunity to participate in additional lectures undertaken by external guests. These lectures will be run twice a week from 6pm to 8pm during the teaching period at LSE.

In addition, students will be given the option to participate in a three-hour webinar hosted at least 10 days before the due date of the take-home assessment. The webinar will consist of two-hours of lectures and one hour of question time.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 piece of coursework in the MT.

Formative assessment:

  • Students will receive feedback from the course instructor on their systematic review and meta-analysis protocol.
  • The word-limit for the protocol (to be developed individually) is 1,000 words.
  • This protocol is based on a non-assessed presentation delivered by a group of students at the last day of class and feedback received on this presentation by the course instructor and members of other groups. This protocol closely parallels PRISMA protocols that need to be developed and registered prior to starting a systematic review and meta-analysis focused on health care subjects.

Indicative reading

  • Petticrew, Mark, and Helen Roberts. Systematic reviews in the social sciences: A practical guide. John Wiley & Sons, 2008.
  • Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions (version 5.1.0, updated March 2011).
  • Institute of Medicine. Finding what works in health care: standards for systematic reviews. 23 March 2011.
  • Sutton AJ et al. Methods for Meta-analysis in Medical Research. Wiley, Chichester, UK, 2000.
  • Parkhurst, Justin. The politics of evidence: from evidence-based policy to the good governance of evidence. Routledge, 2016.


Coursework (100%, 3000 words) in the LT.

Summative assessment:

  • Systematic review and meta-analysis report resembling an original article submission to a peer-reviewed journal. 

Key facts

Department: Health Policy

Total students 2021/22: Unavailable

Average class size 2021/22: Unavailable

Controlled access 2021/22: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

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Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills