SNPH host a Successful Systematic and Scoping Review Course
UKZN’s School of Nursing and Public Health (SNPH) recently hosted a systematic review and scoping review course aimed at improving knowledge of evidence synthesis research methods.
Attended by 33 postgraduates, the course consisted of three workshops, namely; the protocol workshop, the screening and data extraction workshop and the writing workshop.
The course was developed by Academic Leader for Research at the School Dr Tivani Mashamba-Thompson who is also the founder and Director of the UKZN Systematic Review Services. It was facilitated by the following staff members: Nursing and Public Health Subject Librarian Ms Nokulunga Ziqubu, Research Assistant for UKZN Systematic Review Services Ms Nonjabulo Gwala, Research Assistant for UKZN Systematic Review Services Ms Thandela Smith and PhD candidate and Research Assistant for UKZN Systematic Review Services Mr Desmond Kuupiel, Registrar in the Department of Ear, Nose and Throat, Nelson Mandela School of Medicine Dr John Kutsukutsa and PhD candidate in Public Health Medicine and SANTHE Fellow Juliet Katoba.
According to Mashamba-Thompson systematic reviews and scoping reviews use published literature and are aimed at answering a research question, follow rigorous framework-guided methodology and require a protocol.
‘They are a form of knowledge synthesis, which incorporates a range of study designs to comprehensively summarise and synthesise evidence with the aim of informing practice, programmes, and policy as well as providing direction for future research priorities,’ explained Mashamba-Thompson.
She said these reviews also offer alternative methods of answering research questions, ‘If a systematic review or scoping review is conducted as part of a masters or PhD project, the following benefits can be expected: improved research productivity as they often result in more than one publication, refining the research question for a PhD study to ensure novelty; revealing research gaps; enhancing knowledge of subject area; enhancing knowledge of research methods through quality assessment of included studies; answering research question using available literature; affordability for a low budget study; encouraging inclusive learning as they require collaboration and improving scientific writing skills,’ she continued.
In addition, these methods are exempted from ethical review because they do not require human or animal participants.
The protocol workshop introduced students to evidence synthesis research methods, theories that guide these methods as well as the rationale for using these methods to answer research questions.
The screening and data extraction workshop assisted students with systematic search of articles, screening and data extraction from relevant articles and students were offered practical sessions to help them develop tools for abstract and full article screening as well as data extraction.
The writing workshop guided students on how to write systematic review and scoping review results manuscripts. A series of lecturers were offered during this workshop to prepare the students for the practical session.
According to Mashamba-Thompson the course was well received by the students, ‘Although 33 students were admitted into the course, only 18 archived the learning outcomes,’ she said.
Words: Nombuso Dlamini