´╗┐´╗┐ GESIS Training Courses

Scientific Coordination

Sebastian E. Wenz
Tel: +49 221 47694-159

Administrative Coordination

Angelika Ruf
Tel: +49 221 47694-162

Short Course C: Applied Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Dr. Jessica Daikeler, Sonila Dardha

Date: 12.08 - 14.08.2020 ics-file

Location: Online via Zoom

About the lecturer - Dr. Jessica Daikeler

About the lecturer - Sonila Dardha

Course description

[This is a 12 hour class.]
The increasing amount of literature in many social science fields makes it difficult for researchers to assess and keep up with new evidence. As a result, systematic reviews and meta-analyses play an important role in synthesising research and help researchers and practitioners make evidence-based decisions. The aim of this three-day course is to provide participants with an applied introduction to methods for conducting systematic reviews and meta-analyses in the social sciences. The course focuses on all parts of a research synthesis, from how to formulate a research question, search and evaluate the literature, extract and code the data and finally, integrate findings using meta-analytic models. The course will be interactive and practical, with the delivery of sessions based on lectures and individual/small groups working on their own research projects. Prior use of R is advantageous for Day 2 and 3 of this workshop.
A detailed syllabus for this course is available for download here.


Target group

Participants will find the course useful if:
  • They are planning to or currently working on a Master/PhD thesis, or a scientific publication in social sciences or survey methodology using research synthesis methods (systematic review or meta-analysis).
  • They want to gain a better understanding of the pros and cons of the method when evaluating meta-analytical results. However, in this course participants are encouraged to work on their own projects and perform all the different steps of systematically synthesising evidence for their research problem.

Learning objectives

By the end of the course participants will be able to:
  • define a review question and understand how to develop a review protocol and the key stages of the systematic review process
  • develop a search strategy to identify relevant studies for a specific review question
  • understand how to conduct a comprehensive literature search
  • apply eligibility criteria to identify relevant studies
  • understand how to perform a meta-analysis and how to present the results of a meta-analysis
  • conduct a basic meta-analysis and meta-regressions using the free software package R and R's metafor package.
    Organizational Structure of the Course
    The course will consist of three 50-minute lectures as well as a 90-minute hands-on session per day. Participants will spend time applying the course content to their evidence synthesis projects. They can either work individually or in small groups to complete a research project relating to systematic reviews and/or meta-analyses. The instructors will be available during the practical sessions to answer questions, both with regards to course exercises and individual/group projects. We will use “Zoom” for online teaching and online group/ pair work.


    • Participants are expected to have a working forthcoming project that necessitates knowledge in systematic reviews or meta-analyses.
    • Participants are expected to have a good working knowledge of statistics at an undergraduate level, e.g. statistical inference (standard error, confidence interval), bivariate statistics (correlation coefficient, mean differences, odds ratio) as well as a basic understanding of (linear) regression analysis and ANOVA.
    • Participants are interested in any subtopic in social research or survey methodology.
    • Participates are expected to install R, and preferably RStudio, as well as the metafor package, on their computers. Please see the “Software and Hardware Requirements” section below for more information.
    Software and Hardware Requirements
    Participants need to use a laptop with R and RStudio installed. If you have never worked with R before, an (online) tutorial is advisable to get you started. Due to the short course time, this course cannot provide an introduction into R. During the course, the R package metafor will be used; please install this package and add it into your library using the following instructions: after starting R, type in "install.packages("metafor")". If you receive the message "package 'metafor' successfully unpacked and MD5 sums checked", then everything works fine. More information on this R package can be found at: http://www.metafor-project.org/doku.php/installation.
    Participants need access to ILIAS, the e-learning platform for accessing all the resources of this course. Please access the platform to download the material prior to the start of the course. Since we will conduct a literature search during the course, a(VPN)access to the University library of your own institutions would be very helpful. Finally, participants need to download and install Zoom; this will be our online platform for delivering this course virtually. The GESIS summer school team will provide you information how to get Zoom installed.

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