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Unit of study_

CEPI5315: Systematic Reviews

Semester 1, 2024 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

In this unit of study, we aim to introduce you to systematic reviews and meta-analyses of relevance to healthcare with a particular focus on systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials. Students can choose to learn in online or normal day (on-campus) mode. All students will work through online modules addressing the following topics at an introductory level: What and why systematic reviews; How to formulate answerable healthcare questions and searching for systematic reviews; how a systematic review is conducted and understanding the principles of meta-analysis; and how to appraise, interpret and apply the results of systematic reviews. Students will have the opportunity to discuss unit of study learning materials in online discussion boards or via weekly (on-campus) tutorials. Readings and other learning materials will be available via eLearning.

Unit details and rules

Unit code CEPI5315
Academic unit Public Health
Credit points 6
CEPI5203 or CEPI5102 or CEPI5314 or CLTR5000
CEPI5100 or PUBH5010 or CLTR5001
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Melanie Wyld,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Online task Quiz 1
Quiz consisting of multiple choice questions.
1.5% Week 02 30 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Online task Quiz 2
Quiz consisting of multiple choice questions.
1.5% Week 03 30 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3
Online task Quiz 3
Quiz consisting of multiple choice questions.
1.5% Week 04 30 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO4
Online task Quiz 4
Quiz consisting of multiple choice questions.
1.5% Week 05 30 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO4 LO3 LO1
Online task Quiz 5
Quiz consisting of multiple choice questions.
1.5% Week 06 30 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO7 LO1
Online task Quiz 6
Quiz consisting of multiple choice questions.
1.5% Week 07 30 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO5 LO6 LO2
Online task Quiz 7
Quiz consisting of multiple choice questions.
1.5% Week 08 30 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO6 LO5 LO2
Assignment Assignment 1
Written assignment
35% Week 08
Due date: 15 Apr 2024 at 23:59
2500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Online task Quiz 8
Quiz consisting of multiple choice questions.
1.5% Week 09 30 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO5 LO7 LO1 LO6
Online task Quiz 9
Quiz consisting of multiple choice questions.
1.5% Week 10 30 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO8 LO2
Online task Quiz 10
Quiz consisting of multiple choice questions.
1.5% Week 11 30 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO8 LO7
Assignment Assignment 2
Written assessment
50% Week 13
Due date: 24 May 2024 at 23:59
4000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO8 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2

Assessment summary

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

Support for students

The Support for Students Policy 2023 reflects the University’s commitment to supporting students in their academic journey and making the University safe for students. It is important that you read and understand this policy so that you are familiar with the range of support services available to you and understand how to engage with them.

The University uses email as its primary source of communication with students who need support under the Support for Students Policy 2023. Make sure you check your University email regularly and respond to any communications received from the University.

Learning resources and detailed information about weekly assessment and learning activities can be accessed via Canvas. It is essential that you visit your unit of study Canvas site to ensure you are up to date with all of your tasks.

If you are having difficulties completing your studies, or are feeling unsure about your progress, we are here to help. You can access the support services offered by the University at any time:

Support and Services (including health and wellbeing services, financial support and learning support)
Course planning and administration
Meet with an Academic Adviser

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Module 1: Introduction to systematic reviews and meta-analysis Online class (8 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 02 Module 2: Defining the research question and developing a protocol Online class (8 hr) LO1 LO3
Week 03 Module 3: Searching the literature Online class (8 hr) LO3 LO4
Week 04 Module 4: Navigating the screening and selection of studies & data extraction techniques Online class (8 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Week 05 Module 5: Quality assessment and risk of bias evaluation Online class (8 hr) LO1 LO2 LO7
Week 06 Module 6: The what, why, and how of meta-analysis I Online class (8 hr) LO2 LO5 LO6
Week 07 Module 7: The what, why, and how of meta-analysis II Online class (8 hr) LO2 LO5 LO6
Week 08 Module 8: Unveiling Publication Bias and Embracing PRISMA Reporting Standards Online class (8 hr) LO1 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 09 Module 9: GRADE the evidence Online class (8 hr) LO1 LO2 LO8
Week 10 Module 10: Critical appraisal of reviews and exploring the future Online class (8 hr) LO7 LO8

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Understand at an introductory level the what, why, and how of systematic reviews of randomised controlled trials (RCTs)
  • LO2. Understand key elements of other 'types' of reviews (eg systematic reviews of observational studies)
  • LO3. Formulate answerable healthcare questions and undertake literature searching at an introductory level to locate systematic reviews and RCTs
  • LO4. Undertake comprehensive literature searching required for a systematic review of RCTs
  • LO5. Understand at an introductory level the what, why, and how of a meta-analysis of RCTs
  • LO6. Understand at an introductory level how a meta- analyses of RCTs are conducted and reported
  • LO7. Appraise the question and validity of a systematic review of RCTs
  • LO8. Appraise and apply the results of a systematic review of RCTs.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

* Complete revision of learning activities to short, structured, videos * We have introduced new content on: - Systematic reviews of observational studies - Protocol development - Screening and study selection - GRADE approach to rating certainty of evidence


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.