Systematic reviews and meta-analysis of prognostic studies

6 Jun 2016 - 09:15 to 10 Jun 2016 - 14:45


The number of primary studies evaluating prognostic factors and models is rising. Critically summarizing and analyzing the evidence form prognostic studies in a systematic review and meta analysis, respectively,  is beneficial for health care professionals seeking the best evidence. Reviews of prognostic studies are more challenging because of more variation in questions & designs, specific sources of bias & variation, and more complex statistical models, as compared to e.g. randomized therapeutic intervention trials . Several advances regarding the design, critical appraisal and statistical analysis in systematic reviews of prognostic studies, have recently been made. In this course we discuss and practice how to define your review questions, how to critically assess the methodological quality of primary prognostic studies, and which statistical methods to use for meta-analyses of the results of primary prognostic studies. The course consists of plenary presentations, small-group discussions, and computer exercises.


  • At the end of the course, the student will be able to:
  • Explain the rationale for performing a systematic review of prognostic studies
  • List the key steps of a systematic review of prognostic studies
  • Formulate a focused review question addressing a prognostic problem
  • Critically appraise the evidence from primary prognostic studies using the CHARMS instrument
  • Formulate the difficulties of meta-analysis of prognostic research
  • Meta-analyze the performance of existing prediction models
  • Meta-analyze the added value of prognostic factors
  • Understand the basic principles of meta-analyzing existing prediction models


In this course, we expect participants to have a basic knowledge about the principles of prognostic research (a short recap will be given at day 1), systematic reviews and meta-analysis. Furthermore, computer exercises will be done using the statistical software R, so knowledge of basic R commands is desired (see also R tutorial under day 1).


lectures, small group discussions, computer exercises, self-study


On Friday (Day 4), there will be an examination. Furthermore, minimally 80% of the course activities should be attended.

Maximum participants 60

Fee (€) 830.00

The MSc Epidemiology is organised within the Graduate School of Life Sciences, and is part of Utrecht University and University Medical Center Utrecht:
Contact details: 
Educational Office Epidemiology +31 88 75 59304

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