HSO-31306 Systematic Reviews in Health and Society


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper1
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)FK Garcia
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. S Super
FK Garcia
CL Gillies
MSc G Tan Hui Shan
Examiner(s)FK Garcia

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

The course HSO-31306 Systematic Reviews in research for health and society is obligatory for 3rd year students of the Bachelor program Health and Society. Other students can participate in the course, but should be aware that the course is specifically developed for Health and Society students. It is assumed that students have followed at least some introductory courses in health, e.g. HSO-10806 Introduction to health and society, RSO-12806 Eating, Customs and Health, CPT-32306 Health Communication and Innovation, or CHL-23306 Health Issues in Daily Life; a Bèta-Gamma Approach.


Questions related to health and society are often complex questions. Studying the available literature can help to answer these complex questions. A literature review is a critical and in-depth evaluation of previous research, and is an essential part of almost any scientific process. This course will teach students knowledge and skills necessary to conduct a systematic literature review. Among other things, students will learn how to select a topic and theoretical perspective, to formulate relevant research questions, and to conduct a systematic literature search. Students are further taught how to critique the literature and how to develop their argument. Finally, student will learn to critically appraise each-others work and formulate constructive feedback.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- communicate, in writing and orally, knowledge and understanding of current issues in health and society;
- describe and apply the steps for conducting a (systematic) literature review;
- develop answerable research questions using the PICO(C) method;
- select and apply relevant theory for and scientific perspectives on health and society issues;
- select and apply methods/tools to critically evaluate theoretical and scientific perspectives in health and society research, as well as the outcomes and conclusions of this research;

- develop a research proposal for a (systematic) literature review of a health and society issue.

- critically evaluate other's work in a balanced, specific, and clear way by giving constructive feedback. 


The course consists of lectures, tutorials, peer-review (sessions), self-study, an exam, and four individual assignments. During the lectures and tutorials, different elements of conducting a systematic literature review are discussed and practiced with the use of exercises. Outside of the lectures, students will work individually on a research proposal for a literature review. Students provide each other with feedback on parts of the proposal by means of a peer review system. In addition, students individually reflect on two scientific articles (assignment 2). Finally, student will get the opportunity to briefly present their work in the last week of the course in the form of a presentation pitch.


- written test (30%);
- individual assignment 1: Research proposal (40%);
- individual assignment 2: Comparison of articles (20%);

- individual assignment 3: The Research Pitch (bonus);
- individual assignment 4: Peer-review (10%).
Each component needs a minimum mark of 5.5 to pass.


1. Petticrew, M., & Roberts, H. (2006). Systematic Reviews in the Social Sciences: A Practical Guide. Oxford: Blackwell. DOI: 10.1002/9780470754887.
2. Addtional literature and assignments will be available on Blackboard. Students will search and use their own literature for assignment 1 – The Research Proposal.

Compulsory for: BGMHealth and SocietyBSc5AF