Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

PUBH739 Special Topic:

Introduction to the principles and practice of systematic reviews and meta-analysis, including the key steps in a systematic review, meta-analytical techniques, and the assessment of methodological quality of included studies.

Students will learn about the key features of a systematic review. Students will learn why a systematic approach is necessary to produce an unbiased summary of literature and will gain practical skills that will allow them to conduct their own review. Topics covered will include planning of a review, building a search strategy, identifying eligible studies, assessing the potential for bias (both within individual studies and across the review) and the analysis of data (including meta-analysis). For this paper, students must have access to a computer with an Internet connection.

Paper title Special Topic:
Paper code PUBH739
Subject Public Health
EFTS 0.1250
Points 15 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2019
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,400.75
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,934.75

^ Top of page

Limited to
MA, MHealSc, MPH, MSc, DPH, PGDipArts, PGDipHealMgt, PGDipHealSc, PGDipPH, PGCertPHC
(i) PGCertPHC students require approval from the Board of Studies in Primary Health Care to enrol for this paper. (ii) This paper runs for the second half of the second semester.
Students who have completed an undergraduate degree in any discipline or recognised equivalent.
Teaching staff
Jen Desrosiers
Paper Structure
  1. Introduction, developing a protocol, building a search strategy
  2. Identifying eligible studies; outcome types, measures of association; introduction to Stata and meta-analysis
  3. Data extraction and assessment of study quality (randomised, controlled trials and observational studies)
  4. Meta-analysis, meta-regression
  5. Reporting the findings of a systematic review
  6. Special topics
Assignment 1:
  • Build a systematic literature search
Assignment 2:
  • Part 1: Design a form to assess risk of bias in individual studies
  • Part 2: Perform a meta-analysis and report on findings
Teaching Arrangements
Distance taught - no class attendance required.
Text to be confirmed
Please contact the Department.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Critical thinking, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete the paper will
  • Demonstrate understanding of the steps involved in conducting a systematic review
  • Effectively search for relevant literature
  • Critically appraise methods used in individual studies
  • Perform a meta-analysis and interpret the results
  • Understand the key items that must be included when reporting on a systematic review

^ Top of page


Not offered in 2019

Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system