Cochrane Australia Learning Week Courses

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Meta-analysis methods for randomised trials: beyond the basics


Course date:
 
Monday 5 June 2017, 9am-5pm

Presenters: Joanne McKenzie & Emily Karahalios

Venue: Melbourne Parkview Hotel, St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Course description and topics covered:

This one-day course for practising biostatisticians and quantitative health researchers will provide guidance on meta-analysis methods beyond the basics. While conceptually simple, in practice many complexities arise when applying meta-analysis methods. For example, meta-analyses may include: trials that report non-parametric statistics; trials which have used a range of statistical methods to estimate the intervention effect; and non-standard trials. In this workshop we will address some of these complexities. Further, we will cover extensions to meta-analysis that provide opportunities to explore which factors predict variability in the magnitude and direction of intervention effects, and we will present graphical and statistical techniques for examining reporting biases.

Using a mix of presentations, practical exercises (using Stata) and discussion, the course will cover the following topics:

  • Introduction to meta-analysis
  • Meta-regression and subgroup analysis
  • Dealing with issues arising in meta-analysis of continuous outcomes
  • Investigation of reporting biases
  • Meta-analysis of non-standard randomised trials

Intended audience:

The course assumes familiarity with the basics of meta-analysis, although an introductory lecture will be provided.

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RoB 2.0: a revised tool to assess the risk of bias in randomised trials

 

Course date: Tuesday 6 June 2017, 9am-5pm

Presenters: Matthew Page & Joanne McKenzie

Venue: Melbourne Parkview Hotel, St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Course description and topics covered:

This course will introduce the revised Cochrane tool (launched in October 2016) for assessing risk of bias in randomised trials, including extensions for cluster and crossover trials. The course will consist of lectures and practical sessions to enable participants to gain experience in using the revised tool.

The revised tool for assessing risk of bias in randomised trials (RoB 2.0) builds on the established Cochrane risk of bias tool first released through the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions in 2008. Several amendments and improvements have been made based on feedback and evaluations of the original tool. The course will consist of lectures and practical sessions focusing on:

  • Bias in randomised trials: empirical evidence and theoretical considerations
  • Key innovations in the RoB 2.0 tool
  • Guided practical exercise on how to assess the risk of bias arising from the randomisation process, bias due to deviations from intended interventions, bias due to missing outcome data, bias in measurement of the outcome, and bias in selection of the reported result
  • Differences between tool templates for parallel group trials, cluster-randomised trials and crossover trials

Intended audience:

Authors interested in conducting a systematic review of randomised trials

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Using the GRADE approach to communicate evidence for policy and practice (SOLD OUT)


Course date:
Wednesday 7 June, 9am-5pm

Presenters: Sue Brennan & Miranda Cumpston

Venue: Melbourne Parkview Hotel, St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Course description and topics covered:

This one-day course for systematic review authors and others involved in evidence syntheses will cover the main principles of GRADE (Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation) and how it can be used to communicate evidence for policy and practice. GRADE has become the gold standard approach for summarising findings in systematic reviews and rating the certainty of a body of evidence. Recommended for use in Cochrane reviews and NHMRC-approved guidelines, GRADE provides a transparent method for making the complex decisions required to draw conclusions about the quality of evidence.

Using a mix of presentations and practical exercises, the course will cover the following topics:

  • Introduction to the principles of the GRADE approach
  • Assessing the quality of evidence using GRADE
  • Creating ‘Summary of Findings’ tables and Evidence Profiles from systematic reviews of interventions
  • Applying GRADE in more complex scenarios

Intended audience:

The course assumes some familiarity with systematic review methods, in particular the assessment of risk of bias and the interpretation of effect estimates. It is intended for:

  • Systematic review authors
  • Guideline developers and others who need to apply GRADE methods or interpret evidence presented using the GRADE approach

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KT, dissemination and stakeholder engagement: increasing the reach and impact of your research

 

Course date: Wednesday 7 June, 9am-5pm

Presenters: Rebecca ArmstrongSally GreenShauna Hurley & Annie Synnot

Venue: Melbourne Parkview Hotel, St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Course description and topics covered:

This full day course explores both the theory and practice of effectively integrating Knowledge Translation (KT) into research. It demonstrates why and how targeting, engaging and communicating with diverse stakeholders and audiences – be they clinicians, consumers, guideline developers, policy makers, journalists or the general public – can increase the impact, relevance and usefulness of your research. With a broad mix of presentations and practical exercises, the course is designed to give you the knowledge, skills and confidence to directly apply and benefit from KT, dissemination and stakeholder engagement strategies in the context of your own research work.

This course is made up of three interrelated components covering KT, dissemination strategies and stakeholder engagement.

> Knowledge Translation (KT)
This session offers an overview of the underpinning science and theory of KT, and explores the essential tools and resources needed for effective KT planning and implementation. Participants will gain a practical understanding and awareness of:

  • Underlying KT principles and an introduction to KT planning
  • How to develop KT goals
  • How to apply KT strategies in relation to their own research
  • how to develop KT goals and apply KT strategies in relation to their own research


> Make yourself heard: conventional and creative approaches to communicating your research findings
This session will look at both conventional and creative ways to ensure your research findings reach audiences of all kinds. It covers the fundamentals of developing effective communications strategies with well-defined audiences and engaging key messages, and demonstrates the impact this process can have in sparking broader discussion about your work beyond the bounds of academia. With a mix of presentations and practical exercises, the course is designed to give you the practical knowledge and confidence to:

  • think broadly about potential audiences and outlets
  • frame your findings in a way that a wide range of readers, viewers or listeners will understand and engage with
  • pitch and talk about your research findings to journalists from traditional and new media outlets and communications professionals from health organisations


> Engaging consumers and other stakeholders in systematic reviews
This session will explore the range of different stakeholders that can be engaged in systematic reviews, the systematic review stages they might be involved in and the varied approaches to this engagement. It will provide guidance on both the factors to consider when deciding on an engagement approach and practical considerations when involving stakeholders in systematic reviews. The workshop will include a series of short presentations, with an opportunity to work through practical examples. Participants will gain an understanding and awareness of:

  • the range of ways that stakeholders can be engaged in systematic reviews, from more pragmatic to formal research-based methods
  • what the practical implications of different approaches are
  • how to plan a stakeholder engagement approach, including who you might like to involve and how, that is specific to your review


Intended audience:

Systematic review authors, funders, researchers, communications managers

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ROBINS-I: a tool for assessing risk of bias in non-randomised studies of interventions


Course date:
Thursday 8 June, 9am-5pm

Presenters:  Matthew PageJoanne McKenzie & Emily Karahalios

Venue: Melbourne Parkview Hotel, St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Course description and topics covered:

This course introduces the new ROBINS-I tool for assessing risk of bias in non-randomised studies of interventions (NRSI). The course will consist of lectures and practical sessions to enable participants to gain experience in using the new tool.

The new ROBINS-I tool is designed to evaluate the risk of bias in estimates of the effectiveness or safety of an intervention from studies that did not use randomisation to assign interventions (e.g. cohort studies). The tool has a similar structure to the recently revised tool for assessing risk of bias in randomised trials (RoB 2.0). However, rather than assessing randomisation methods, the early parts of the tool focus on the issues of confounding, selection of participants into the study, and how intervention groups are classified. The course will consist of lectures and practical sessions focusing on:

  • An introduction to the ROBINS-I tool
  • Guided practical exercise on how to assess the risk of bias due to confounding, bias in selection of participants into the study, bias in classification of interventions, bias due to deviations from intended interventions, bias due to missing outcome data, bias in measurement of the outcome, and bias in selection of the reported result.

Intended audience:

Authors interested in conducting a systematic review of non-randomised studies of interventions, who are familiar with different epidemiological study designs.

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Synthesising and presenting review findings when meta-analysis isn't possible


Course date:
Thursday 8 June, 9am-5pm

Presenters: Sue BrennanJoanne McKenzie & Rebecca Ryan

Venue: Melbourne Parkview Hotel, St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Course description and topics covered:

This one-day course for systematic review authors and others involved in evidence syntheses provides guidance on methods that can be used when meta-analysis of effect estimates is inappropriate or not possible. Scenarios that preclude the use of meta-analysis are common in reviews that address broad questions (eg. reviews of public health, health services improvement, and consumer-oriented interventions) but can be found in any review. Diversity in comparisons, outcomes, populations or study designs can lead to sparse data to address the review’s objectives; similarly, incomplete information reported about effect estimates, or inconsistency in the reported effect estimates, may also prevent meta-analysis. Planning for these scenarios during protocol development can ensure that reviewers make best use of available data and produce more useful syntheses for decision makers.

Using a mix of presentations and practical exercises, we will cover the following topics:

  • Scenarios that preclude meta-analysis
  • Structuring reviews to facilitate synthesis: grouping interventions and outcomes; taxonomies, frameworks and logic models
  • Deciding upon the synthesis method(s) that best addresses the aims of your review
  • From summary to synthesis: methods for exploring and synthesising data
  • Presenting and describing the results of your synthesis

Intended audience:

The course assumes familiarity with systematic review methods. It is intended for systematic review authors, especially those undertaking reviews that aim to address broad questions or evaluate complex interventions.

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Overviews of reviews and appraising systematic reviews using ROBIS


Course date:
Friday 9 June, 9am-5pm

Presenters: Sue BrennanJoanne McKenzie & Carole Lunny

Venue: Melbourne Parkview Hotel, St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Course description and topics covered:

This two-part course provides guidance on the conduct of overviews of reviews and on the appraisal of systematic reviews using the recently developed ROBIS (Risk of Bias in Systematic Reviews) tool.

> Overviews

Overviews are an increasingly popular form of systematic review, largely due to their potential to accelerate synthesis of research when addressing broad policy and practice questions. This course focuses on methods for dealing with the complex scenarios commonly encountered by authors of overviews. While the methods have much in common with systematic reviews of primary studies, the task of integrating evidence from multiple reviews brings unique challenges for which authors need to plan. These challenges include dealing with overlapping data when reviews include the same primary studies, discordant findings across reviews, and missing information.

Using a mix of presentations and practical exercises, we will cover the following topics:

  • Introduction to the purpose and features of a overviews
  • Common scenarios that present methodological challenges for overview authors
  • Planning the methods of an overview (with a focus on determining eligibility criteria, data extraction, assessing risk of bias of included reviews, reporting and synthesising results)

> ROBIS

The ROBIS tool was developed for those who need to appraise systematic reviews for overviews and guidelines. It is the first tool designed to assess potential biases that may arise from the methods used to design, conduct or report systematic reviews. The tool applies a similar domain-based approach to that used in the Cochrane tool for assessing risk of bias in randomised trials, and emphasises the importance of transparent reporting of all judgements made.

Using a mix of presentations and practical exercises, we will cover the following topics:

  • Introduction to the principles of assessing risk of bias in a systematic review
  • Potential sources of bias in a systematic review
  • Assessing the risk of bias using ROBIS
  • Reporting and presenting ROBIS assessments
  • Integrating ROBIS assessments in an overview of systematic reviews

Intended audience:

The course assumes some familiarity with systematic review methods. It is intended for:

  • Systematic reviewers
  • Guideline developers and others who need to appraise evidence from systematic reviews and to integrate findings from systematic reviews when synthesising evidence

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