Session: Systematic Review Methods: A Step-By-Step Introduction (Society for Social Work and Research 23rd Annual Conference - Ending Gender Based, Family and Community Violence)

222 Systematic Review Methods: A Step-By-Step Introduction

Saturday, January 19, 2019: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
Golden Gate 4, Lobby Level (Hilton San Francisco)
Cluster: Research Design and Measurement (RD&M)
Brandy Maynard, PhD, Saint Louis University, Michael Solis, PhD, University of California Riverside and Anne Farina, MSW, Saint Louis University
The best empirical evidence for social change comes not from single studies, but from scientific analyses and syntheses of multiple studies on the same topic. Replication is an essential principle of science, but pure replications are very rare in social work research. Instead, most studies investigate variations on important themes: How widespread are various conditions? Which risk and protective factors are associated with specific conditions? How acceptable are certain interventions in different populations? Which interventions have been rigorously evaluated with what results? What works best for whom under what conditions? These questions and others can be addressed with systematic reviews and meta-analyses, even in the presence of substantial (and statistical) heterogeneity across studies.

Traditional literature reviews that often rely on haphazard approaches to identifying studies and narrative summaries of results of multiple studies can lead to erroneous results and invalid conclusions due to bias and error introduced at various stages of the research synthesis process. Over the past two decades, research synthesis methods have developed rapidly; there is now strong evidence of methods that can reduce bias and error in the research synthesis process. Systematic review methods are a form of research synthesis that have increasingly replaced traditional narrative reviews and are considered the gold standard for synthesizing evidence. Systematic review methods bring a high level of rigor to synthesizing research by using organized, transparent, and replicable research procedures to minimize bias and error. Despite the increasing acceptance of systematic reviews as a rigorous research methodology, and the growing body of inadequacy of narrative reviews, systematic review methods are still not widely taught and practiced in U. S. social work programs. This workshop aims to provide a step-by-step primer for social work doctoral students and researchers interested in conducting a systematic review.

This worksop will focus on current principles and methods that guide the conduct of systematic reviews, along with the empirical evidence for current guidelines and standards. In this workshop, participants will:

1. Identify the differences between a systematic review and a traditional narrative review 2. Identify when systematic reviews are needed and the different types of questions that can be answered with a systematic review 3. Learn the steps of conducting a systematic review 4. Obtain additional up-to-date information, conduct and reporting guidelines, and tools that participants can access to further develop skills in systematic review methods.

Pedagogical methods include lecture, discussion, small group exercises and handouts.

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