A systematic review is a type of research study that synthesizes the available evidence to answer a specific question. The Institute for Work & Health (IWH) has extensive expertise in conducting systematic reviews in workplace health and safety, as well as in back and neck pain. In 1996, we began housing Cochrane Back and Neck, one of over 50 international systematic review groups in Cochrane. In 2005, we created our Systematic Review Program to tackle questions relevant to stakeholders in occupational health, safety and disability prevention. Since then, we have published findings from numerous reviews and on knowledge synthesis methodology, and offered annual workshops on how to conduct a systematic review.
How we do systematic reviews
IWH systematic reviews aim to be comprehensive, systematic, rigorous and transparent. We use a six-step process that includes developing the research question, conducting a literature search, identifying relevant journal articles, appraising the quality of the research described in the articles, extracting data from articles of sufficient quality, and synthesizing the evidence. All along the way, we engage knowledge users and stakeholders, from refining the research question to extracting the data and communicating the research messages.
Systematic review findings
IWH’s Systematic Review Program synthesizes the research evidence so you don't have to. Since the program's creation in 2005, we have conducted systematic reviews to help guide practices and policies in work injury and disease prevention, recovery prognosis and return to work. We have even taken it a step further and produced a handbook on how to contextualize the findings of systematic reviews to be effective in specific geographic or sector contexts.
Systematic Review Workshop
IWH offers its Systematic Review Workshop about once a year, usually in the spring or fall. Running since 2001, the workshop is designed to teach participants how to plan, conduct and communicate the results of a systematic review. The workshop, taught by experts from IWH and Cochrane Back and Neck, is intended for clinical trainees, clinicians, decision-makers, academics and researchers (epidemiologists, statisticians) with a general interest in the methodology of systematic reviews and for those planning to conduct a systematic review in the future.
Cochrane Back and Neck
Hosted by IWH from 1996 to 2020, Cochrane Back and Neck (CBN) coordinates the publication of literature reviews on the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of neck and back pain and other spinal disorders, excluding inflammatory diseases and fractures. Now hosted by Cochrane Musculoskeletal, CBN continues to benefit from IWH expertise through the work of an IWH scientist as its content editor. CBN is one of over 50 Cochrane review groups.