Why take this course?
This distance learning course is designed for busy health care professionals, such as nurses, doctors, and professionals allied to medicine, who are keen to obtain a postgraduate qualification in a flexible, timely manner through distance learning study. The course materials are available throughout your registration period.
The Postgraduate Certificate has been developed in collaboration with Cochrane, which is recognised as world-leading in systematic review methodology. The majority of the interactive learning materials that form part of the teaching materials were developed and extensively piloted through joint funding by Cochrane and the University of Portsmouth
Cochrane holds the admirable aim of improving healthcare decision-making globally through the production, dissemination, updating and maintenance of Cochrane systematic reviews. These reviews are read by Health Professionals at all levels as well as Health Researchers, Health Policy Makers, Care Givers, the Pharmaceutical Industry and Patients. Cochrane Reviews are now seen as the 'gold standard' for systematic reviews in such key publications as The Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine, British Medical Journal, and the Journal of the American Medical Association and routinely appear there as well as in specialised medical journals for various specialty areas.
What will I experience?
On this course you will:
Gain an overview of systematic review methods and learn how to plan your systematic review including identifying suitable topics
Learn about risk of bias, different types of data, appraising a systematic review, including constructing risk of bias tables and accurately documenting decision making
Use computer software to conduct a meta-analysis, write and present your data including the practical application of the unique DORIS user-friendly tool for assisting interpretation of results and writing up
We will provide you with a personal tutor to support your learning and invite you to take part in web-based discussion forums with experienced course team members and other students to share ideas, develop protocols and find solutions to complex problems within the field of systematic review.
What opportunities might it lead to?
Successful completion of the course will help health professionals gain a better understanding of evidence based healthcare, enhance practice decision-making, and provide you with the skills to carry out a systematic review. The excellent quality of content, along with the application of pedagogically advanced interactive media to achieve an engaging learning experience, will prepare you for an academic and/or research career in behavioural and social sciences, including progression to further postgraduate opportunities.
The distance learning units are designed to give you access to a wide range of quality material. All materials are delivered through Moodle, the university’s E-Learning platform. You can study as either a full-time (one year) or part-time (two years) postgraduate student. You may start in either mid-September or early February of any academic year. The course has two units:
Introduction to Systematic Reviews (30 credits). This unit provides an introduction to systematic reviews in health within the framework of the main systematic review organisations, such as Cochrane. Students will gain a good working knowledge of the purpose of systematic reviews in health, the different approaches of the main organisations supporting systematic reviewers, as well as the ability to plan and appraise systematic review protocols.
Extraction, Appraisal & Synthesis (30 credits). This unit will enable you to gain experience of using the skills associated with systematic review. You will follow a work plan that will guide you through the online materials, including videos and scenario based challenges. You will manage a searching strategy for systematic reviews, construct suitable data collection tools, critically appraise primary research using justified assessment criteria, evaluate the choice of analysis techniques and formulate informed conclusions from evidence synthesis in a format suitable for a professional audience.
You will follow a work plan that will guide you through the online materials, including videos and scenario based challenges. The materials have been written for this course by experts in the area, including the course team, who have all conducted and published systematic reviews/protocols themselves. You will be provided with a personal tutor to support your learning.
There are two assessments for each unit:
Online assessment through multiple choice and open answer questions
A critical report
Throughout the course and embedded across the two units, you will have an opportunity for formative assessment through a number of online activities, self-assessment quizzes and, worksheet activities. Online tutorials and discussion boards will help you to assess your understanding, exchange ideas and deepen your knowledge of the topic.
The quality of content, along with the application of pedagogically advanced interactive media to achieve an engaging learning experience, will prepare you for pursing an academic and/or research career in behavioural and social sciences, including progression to further postgraduate opportunities, for example, professional doctorate, PhD or MD training.
A lower second-class honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject. Professional experience and other qualifications may be taken into consideration for applicants not meeting this requirement.English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.