Systematic approaches to literature reviews and evidence synthesisFormative and summative assessment
Participation in the following five formative mandatory activities area requirement of the course. We will post (guideline) deadlines for these mandatory activities. You need to ensure that you have posted on Moodle in the appropriate space before you submit your assignment.
The course (including the formative assessment) is structured around the different stages of the protocol so by the end of the module you potentially could have much of it written. Posting by the suggested deadlines will help with pacing and help to ensure feedback from your colleagues.
Summative assessment/ Final assignment
This should comprise of :
1. Introduction/ background to the protocol. Present a concise overview of the background to the review area and justification for focus, with reference to the literature (between 500-1000 Words)
2. The review protocol (approximately 2000- 2500 words) – see further guidance/ model answer below for what should be included.
3. The criticalreflective discussion (approximately 1000-1500 words) should consider the protocol in a reflective critical manner. See further guidance/ model answer below.
A protocol is essentially a roadmap of how you will conduct your review: the methods.
We have constructed this model answer below and hope you find this helpful.
Please note that the focus of this assignment is both on demonstrating awareness of a systematicelements and a reflection on challenges that might be associated with this. We recognise that some students might be aware that they’ve gone down a certain path and it’s too late to re-do their approach. In this case we would like to see a reflection on what has gone wrong, why it has gone wrong and how you might be able to put it right. It might be for example that the review question was far too broad, or a Cochrane approach was selected but there are many relevant qualitative papers. As long as students reflect on the potential implications of their (perceived) problems/ errors, they are demonstrating both an awareness of conducting the review and reflection.
1. Introduction/ background to the protocol.Present a concise overview of the background to the review area and justification for focus, with reference to the literature (between 500-1000words)
2. The protocol(between 2000-2500 words) should include:
• Thereview question.
• The identified review approach (e.g. a Cochrane style review, a realist synthesis, etc.) that is consistent with your review question.
The protocol should also include the following elements, all of which need to relate to the review question and reflect the approach you are adopting:
• Inclusion and exclusion criteria/ criteria for considering studies for this review.
• Acomprehensive, search strategy/ plan (this should include a description of all the activities involved in the main searches e.g. specific searches, or other resources to be searched, key search terms and any date limits).
• Adetailed example of one of your search strategies for a single database.A description of the selected database, search terms and date limits also needs to be included in the protocol; you can consider the implications in the critical reflective discussion (e.g. number of papers identified). You should also include the following in an appendix:thesummary output from when the search was runincludingthe database searched, the time periods, the search terms and the number of references identifiedat each stage. The appendix should also include basic details on a sample of 5-10titles and abstracts from the search and whether you think they meet your inclusion criteria or not. Please note the papers do not have to meet your inclusion criteria as this is only a first search. Also note that this has overlap with how the relevance of studies will be assessed below.
• Howboth the relevance and qualityof studies will be assessed (tools can be included as an appendix).
• Adescription of the data to be extracted (data extraction form can be included as an appendix).
• A plan for analysis / synthesis.
• Descriptionof review process. This will usually consider how the references will be managed, the proposed time frame, quality management (single reviewer or a team, including the roles of reviewers in a team).
You may also choose to include other aspects that you consider to be important for your protocol or that might usually be included for the type of review that you are proposing (e.g. an assessment of heterogeneity, missing data).The choice of tense is up to you but whatever tense is chosen it needs to be consistent. It would make sense to follow convention and write the protocol in the future tense as we are not expecting the review to be completed. We realise you may already have completed some aspects to the review so you may also wish to make this clear too.
3. The criticalreflective discussion(between1000-1500 words) should consider the protocol in a reflective critical manner. This can be written in the first person/ active voice, should be written in an academic style supported by literature where appropriate and focus on your methodological choices, including:
• How these relate to the area that you are interested in undertaking empirical research? (This could be either methodologically or within the topic area.
• A justification of these choices including strengths with reference to the wider literature, for example, you might wish to compare your protocol with other reviews/ protocols in the area and how your protocol might be different.
• A discussion of the challenges of the proposed review methods, including any limitations/ potential biases in the review process, with reference to the wider literature.
• How you might want to change develop your review in the future in light of the above.
• Published systematic review protocols
• The learning outcomes for the module.
• The Module resources including critical appraisal tools for systematic reviews e.g. PRISMA and RAMESES (for appraisal of your own methods where relevant).
The following can be used as a checklist for your assignment and appendices. Submit all as one PDF document.
Tick Appendices Tick
Introduction/ background to the protocol
The protocol should include:
• Review question
• Review approach
• Inclusion and exclusion criteria
• A comprehensive, search strategy
• A detailed example of one of your search strategies for a single database • the summary output from when the search was run including the database searched, time periods, search terms and no. of references identified at each stage.
• basic details on a sample of 5-10 titles and abstracts from the search and whether you think they meet your inclusion criteria or not.
• How both the relevance and quality of studies will be assessed • Quality appraisal tool(s)
• A description of the data to be extracted • Data extraction form
• A plan for analysis / synthesis (use the topic 4 activities/ reading to guide this)
• Descriptionof review process