Scholar Enlightens Researchers on Fundamentals of Systemic Review
Researchers at Covenant University were recently exposed to a scientific research process when a scholar, Dr Kingsley Ukwaja, enlightened them on a methodical approach to reviewing at a Webinar organized by the Covenant University Centre for Research Innovation and Discovery (CUCRID).
The scholar, a faculty at the Department of Medicine, Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, made a presentation titled 'Fundamentals of Systemic Review'.
Dr Ukwaja described a systemic review as a "scientific process where all empirical evidence that fits pre-specified eligibility criteria are collated to answer a specific research question". Features of a systemic review, according to him, were clear objectives with pre-defined eligibility criteria for studies, explicit, reproducible methodology, a systematic search to identify all studies, assessment of the validity of the findings of the included studies (e.g. risk of bias), and an organized presentation and synthesis, of the results of the included studies.
While stating the reasons for conducting a systemic review, Dr Ukwaja said it minimized the impact of bias/errors; it could help end confusion in conflicting findings; it highlighted where there was no sufficient evidence. He added that it combined results from different studies to highlight new ones discovered, and it could also mitigate the need for further trials amongst others.
He said that planning for a systemic review required the formation of a team, preparation for the time commitment, link to a research study or research higher degree, and considering the application for funding or support. The facilitator took participants through the rudiments of planning a systemic review, designing and conducting a systemic review and meta-analysis, protocol, conducting one's search, and screening and selecting studies.
Dr Ukwaja said it varied according to one's research question and related to the protocol being followed on data extraction. He said two reviewers should do data extraction as people did not always find that in the same places in articles, and it could be easy to miss or misinterpret information.
In summary, Dr Ukwaja's lecture was a simple and important shortcut to research requiring limited resources (laptop, internet and one or two other persons). "A systematic review could be designed and completed within three months, and it remains an important veritable tool for research," said the scholar.
In his comments, the Vice-Chancellor, Covenant University, Professor Abiodun H. Adebayo, appreciated the facilitator's commitment and the depth of his presentation. "Found that you were the most qualified to make a presentation on the subject, and you've not disappointed us. You have schooled our faculty and staff on systemic review," he said.
Professor Adebayo said Covenant University, as a world-class University, drove research with a vision to be one of the top 10 Universities globally. He hoped that the relationship with Dr Ukwaja would go beyond the presentation and urged participants to ensure they used the experience gained from the webinar.
In his remarks, the Director, CUCRID, Professor Emeka Iweala, thanked the Vice-Chancellor for his unrelenting support for CUCRID and appreciated the participants for attending the event, believing that the presentation had educated them. Professor Iweala thanked Dr Ukwaja for his intelligent delivery and hoped that he would be willing to partner with Covenant going forward.