Table 1

Overview of the online Primer in Systematic Reviews (SR)

TimeTopic and objectivesAssessment/Learning tools
Week 1Introduction and orientation to the online platform
  • PowerPoint voice over

  • How to navigate the course Portable Document Format (PDF) and video

  • ‘Learning to learn online’ orientation booklet

  • Welcome and introduction forum (asynchronous)

Week 2Introducing evidence-based practice (EBP) and phrasing questions
  • Describe what EBP is and the components thereof

  • Discuss why EBP is important and needed

  • State what evidence is and explain the five steps of EBHC and the hierarchy of evidence

  • Discuss the importance of robust clear questions

  • Apply the Population, Issue, Control, Outcome (PICO) format to formulate a question

  • Explain the different types of PICO questions

  • PowerPoint voice over

  • Online articles and video resources

  • MCQ Assessment

  • Asynchronous forum discussions

Week 3Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and risk of bias (ROB)
  • Explain the design of RCTs

  • Identify the unique characteristics of an RCT

  • Define bias

  • Explain the importance of considering ROB in trials

  • Explain the difference between bias and precision in trials

  • Name and explain the different types of bias that SR authors consider in their reviews

  • Use the Cochrane Collaboration’s ROB tool to categorise bias in RCTs

  • PowerPoint voice over

  • Online articles and video resources

  • RCT ROB exercise

  • MCQ Assessment

  • Synchronous question and answer session with facilitators

  • Asynchronous forum discussions

Week 4Finding, reading and appraising SR
  • Steps in finding the evidence

  • How to search the Cochrane library

  • Identify and explain the steps involved in conducting a SR

  • Describe why critical appraisal is important

  • Critically appraise a SR of effect using A MeaSurement Tool to Assess systematic Reviews (AMSTAR)

  • PowerPoint voice over

  • Online articles and video resources

  • AMSTAR SR appraisal exercise

  • Asynchronous forum discussion

Week 5Interpreting SR results
  • Identify the different components of a Cochrane SR results section

  • Interpret different measures of effect

  • Interpret the results of a meta-analysis

  • PowerPoint voice over

  • Online articles and video resources

  • Interpreting meta-analysis results exercise

  • Synchronous question and answer session with facilitators

  • Asynchronous forum discussions

Week 6GRADE and Summary of Findings Tables
  • Describe the approach of using GRADE

  • Be able to interpret Summary of Findings Tables

  • Understand and apply GRADE to systematic reviews

  • PowerPoint voice over

  • Online articles and video resources

  • GRADE and Summary of Findings interpretation exercise in synchronous session

  • Asynchronous forum discussions

Week 7Evidence into Policy and Practice: Knowledge Translation
  • Identify tools that promote evidence use in policy and practice

  • Outline different strategies for getting evidence into policy and practice

  • PowerPoint voice over

  • Online articles and video resources

  • Asynchronous forum discussions

Week 8–11Postcourse readings, discussions and continued access
  • Online articles and video resources

  • Asynchronous forum discussions

  • MCQ, multiple-choice question.