The Cochrane Schizophrenia Group

Day 4: Solving the review puzzle and pulling it all together for your fans

Everyone’s a little sleepy after the course meal and chatting deep into the night over a glass of wine.  Yesterday’s topics were heavy, the heaviest of the four days in fact.  Today is all about the write up, putting all the pieces of the puzzle together to create a manageable picture for the public as well as clinicians (or whoever your consumers are); the pieces being everything from the previous three days – setting the topic, searching and statistics.


Part of the ‘pulling together’ involves summaries, lots of summaries in table, text and stats form to make your discoveries legible for members of the public.  This is one of the most important things to keep in mind.  How else do we get the people we are aiming to raise the awareness and knowledge of to read our reviews? Read the rest of this entry »

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Day 3: (Data) Extraction…oo sounds painful

Today is about extraction.  Extracting information from the studies identified through your search.  It sounds like it could be a painful process but actually once you get the hang of it it’s really quick and easy to sift, decide which studies aren’t relevant to your review.  the hardest part is drilling down in the one’s that you do deem relevant.  During the practical, Clive Adams asks a delegate how long it took him to work out that the study in question wasn’t relevant.  It took him 4mins!  This just shows that it doesn’t have to take ages, even when you’re only just learning about systematic review writing.  If this delegate wasn’t just learning and the study was on his profession he probably could have decided its relevance in 2mins.  It’s a bit like the new hazard perception test you get as part of your driving theory test…read, read, read, you spot something that doesn’t match your criteria, click the button like a ninja…next study. Read the rest of this entry »

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Day 2: Searching for studies and using Review Manager (RevMan)

Who would have thought you had to have a search strategy for systematic review writing?  I thought you might just go onto Google and search for bits of your title like Clozapine or schizophrenia.  Apparently, as Judy Wright, Senior Information Specialist (and previous TSC for the CSzG) presents, it’s a little more complicated than that.  You have to consider all the different ways someone may have studied what you want to review, for example if you’re writing a systematic review on cycling helmets you may need to search in a studies database for ‘cycling’, ‘cyclists’, ‘bicyclist’, ‘helmets’ etc.  Within Cochrane it’s a lot easier to search as we’ve got Trial Search Coordinators, basically search strategy ninjas.  They can search a lot quicker than we ever could and uncover those small scale studies hidden beneath the pile of big ‘name in lights’ studies.  All studies have relevance, no matter the size, quality or country of origin.  Mona Nassar, a co-convenor of the Cochrane Agenda and Priority Setting Methods Group highlighted this article in a conversation on Twitter, you might find it helpful if you’re starting a systematic review any time soon. Read the rest of this entry »

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Day 1: What’s in a name…of a systematic review?

I only attended the last half of the first day of the Cochrane Systematic Review Course and I feel I missed out.  I arrived to find a mass of squiggles in lots of different colours all over the posh looking white boards in the Engineering & Science Learning Centre in The University of Nottingham.  What did it all mean?  Was this the Da Vinci Code of systematic reviews?

Day one of the systematic review course 2013

It seems so.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Ferreting in CRS and RevMan…it’s technical

By Angelique Bodart, the Editorial Assistant for the CSzG

An interview with two 3rd year students on the Information Management and Healthcare course at the University of Applied Sciences in Ulm, Germany

When they were asked where they would like their 3rd year work placement to be they did not choose Hawaii or Brazil like their fellow students, they chose the UK.  What they got was a placement with us, the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group in Nottingham, an eager Coordinating Editor and lots of small projects ready for them to run with.  So far they have been presented with two projects, both originally considered reasonably small but as with all technological advancement these project grew, in difficulty and further development ideas.  This is an insight into the work they’ve been doing for us over the past three months and will continue to develop over the next two. Read the rest of this entry »

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