Systematic Review Methods Training Workshop

  • Date
    06.08.24 > 21.11.24
  • Time
    06:00 am > 05:00 pm UTC-11:00

This workshop aims to introduce systematic reviewing and systematic mapping as methods for evidence synthesis. Participants will gain an in-depth understanding of the necessary activities to maximize comprehensiveness, transparency, objectivity, and reliability throughout the review process. This step-by-step course takes time to explain the theory behind each part of the review process and provides guidance, tips, and advice for those wanting to undertake a full systematic review or map. The course includes a series of interactive presentations and practical exercises, including examples from recent relevant systematic reviews and map projects.

Training structure

  • Duration: A total of 12 hours spread across 3 days- 4 hours per day
  • Mode: Online
  • Maximum participants per training: 25


  • August 6-8: For CGIAR scientists and NARES partners based in South East Asia, South Asia and the Pacific Islands.
  • September: 10-12: For CGIAR scientists and NARES partners based in Latin America and the Caribbeans.
  • September: 17-19: For AGNES-nominated candidates.
  • October: 15-17: For CGIAR Scientists and NARES partners based in Africa and Central and West Asia.
  • November: 19-21 : For CGIAR scientists and NARES partners based in South East Asia, South Asia, Central and West Asia, and Africa.


An introduction to systematic reviews and systematic maps: This session will introduce participants to systematic review and systematic map methods, including the differences between traditional literature reviews and systematic methods. It will also compare and contrast systematic review and systematic map methods and explain when each is appropriate. Finally, it will discuss common ways review teams work and how to plan a review project.

The Collaboration for Environmental Evidence (CEE):  This session will briefly introduce participants to the Collaboration for Environmental Evidence (CEE) , discussing its remit and activities in relation to establishing and maintaining guidelines in evidence synthesis, raising awareness of and providing training in systematic reviews and systematic maps, and coordinating the peer-review and publishing of systematic reviews and maps in its journal Environmental Evidence.

Stakeholder engagement and question formulation: In this session, participants will learn the importance of engaging stakeholders during the planning stages of a review. It will cover the process of formulating a focused review question from a broad topic, using tools to define key elements. A practical exercise will allow attendees to design and define their systematic review/map questions.

The protocol: In this session, participants will learn the importance of having a detailed priori protocol (a review/map planning document). It will highlight the main content that should appear in a review protocol and explain the level of detail necessary for each stage. The process by which a protocol can be peer-reviewed and published will also be discussed.

Searching for evidence: This session will introduce participants to all aspects of setting up, testing, and running searches for evidence as part of a systematic review or map. It will also include a practical exercise where attendees will search for evidence and download the search results.

Assembling a library of evidence and review management software: This session will outline what comes after searches have been performed: assembling a database of potentially relevant evidence that must be screened by reviewers. The session will also introduce review management software, using a practical example: EPPI Reviewer. In a practical session, attendees will create a review in EPPI Reviewer and import and combine their search results.

Screening for relevance: In this session, participants will learn how potentially relevant search results can be assessed (screened) for relevance against established, well-defined inclusion criteria. The key screening stages will be introduced: title screening, abstract screening, retrieval of full-text documents, and full-text screening. In a practical exercise, attendees will import search results into EPPI Reviewer, combine results across different resources, remove duplicates, and screen at various stages.

Data extraction and coding: This session will cover how to extract data from studies, both in terms of descriptive information (meta-data) and quantitative (or qualitative) study findings. It will also describe the coding of studies used in systematic mapping. This session will involve a practical exercise where attendees will plan and undertake basic coding and meta-data extraction.

Critical appraisal: In this session participants will be introduced to what ‘critical appraisal’ means (i.e. the assessment of how reliable research evidence is) and how researchers can weight evidence according to its reliability in any synthesis. Critical appraisal will be described in terms of the internal validity (relevance) and external validity (generalisability). Approaches to critical appraisal will be introduced and, in a practical session, attendees will experience issues relating to critical appraisal and the level of detail required for the process.

Synthesis: visualizations:   This session will introduce participants to the common ways to visualize systematic reviews and map results. Visualizations will be described to help display the methods used in the review, the nature of the evidence identified, the results of assessments of relevance and validity, and any synthesis of study findings. Practical advice will be given relating to software suitable for visualizations.

Synthesis: narrative, quantitative, and qualitative methods: This session will introduce the main principles of synthesizing study findings in a systematic review to participants. The difference between aggregative and configurative synthetic methods will be explained. Software suitable for these synthesis methods will be described.

Writing and publishing the final report:   This session will teach participants how to produce the final systematic review or map reports. Requirements of CEE and other major organizations and publishers will be outlined, along with the sections and level of detail necessary for any report. The process by which systematic reviews and maps are typically peer-reviewed and published will be discussed.

Communicating results: This session will outline how systematic reviewers may communicate the results of their reviews, including how to engage with stakeholders, and how to produce tailored media to describe results.

Meet the Trainers

Dr Jacqui Eales is an evidence synthesis specialist, passionate about robust scientific evidence, communication and engagement. Over the past 15 years, Jacqui has led cutting-edge, large-scale and interactive systematic evidence reviews and maps and developed methodologies and guidelines with leading evidence synthesis methodologists. In 2009, she established the training faculty of the Collaboration for Environmental Evidence, as it was emerging as a world-leader in environmental systematic reviews, and continues to design and deliver specialist training to a worldwide audience. Jacqui is also an Education Facilitator at a leading global NGO for citizen science, planetary health and sustainability, Earthwatch Institute.


Neal Haddaway is an evidence synthesis specialist with an established international reputation in systematic review and systematic mapping methodology, focusing on environment and international development topics (including pollution, agricultural ecology and conservation, protected areas, human wellbeing). On-going research interests include; climate emotions, capacity development for evidence synthesis in resource-constrained contexts; development of evidence synthesis methodology and review optimization tools and technologies (including the Evidence Synthesis Hackathon) to increase rigor, comprehensiveness, transparency and efficiency, and reduce costs of evidence reviews. He is the leader of and collaborator in a range of international communities of practice on evidence synthesis technology, stakeholder engagement, evidence synthesis capacity building, and environmental evidence synthesis. Neal has been designing and providing training in evidence synthesis since 2012 and is endorsed as a training provider by the Collaboration for Environmental Evidence.

How to apply

  • Applicants must send an email to this address – with;
  • A short (300 words) statement of motivation indicating how you plan to use the skills acquired during this training for their research
  • A short 4-page CV, highlighting any publications or experience with Evidence Synthesis
  • A supporting letter from the immediate supervisor certifying that the applicant is likely to use the skills acquired in their regular research work
  • A signed statement by the applicant stating that the candidate will complete the entire 12 hours of training to be eligible for a certificate of completion.

All applications from CGIAR and NARES scientists are due by the 19th of July 2024, and they will be notified about their selection by the 31st of July. AGNES will make its own selection and communicate it to the CGIAR team for coordination.  Early career researchers, women researchers, and researchers from disadvantaged backgrounds are especially encouraged to apply.  Basic knowledge of evidence synthesis is desirable but not compulsory. Candidates currently working on any aspect of climate change (impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability or mitigation) will be preferred.

A certificate of completion will be given to everyone who completes entire 12 hours of online training.