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Open Access Research article

Training practitioners in preparing systematic reviews: a cross-sectional survey of participants in the Australasian Cochrane Centre training program

Janet H Piehl1*, Sally Green2 and Chris Silagy3

Author Affiliations

1 Research Fellow, Australasian Cochrane Centre, Monash Institute of Health Services Research, Monash Medical Centre, Melbourne, Australia

2 Acting Director, Australasian Cochrane Centre, Monash Institute of Health Services Research, Monash Medical Centre, Melbourne, Australia

3 Director (prior to his death in December 2001), Australasian Cochrane Centre, Monash Institute of Health Services Research, Monash Medical Centre, Melbourne, Australia

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BMC Health Services Research 2002, 2:11  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-2-11

Published: 2 June 2002

Abstract

Background

Although systematic reviews of health care interventions are an invaluable tool for health care providers and researchers, many potential authors never publish reviews. This study attempts to determine why some people with interest in performing systematic reviews do not subsequently publish a review; and what steps could possibly increase review completion.

Methods

Cross-sectional survey by email and facsimile of the 179 participants in Australasian Cochrane Centre training events between 1998 and 2000.

Results

Ninety-two participants responded to the survey (51 percent). Response rate of deliverable surveys was 82 percent (92/112). The remainder of the participants had invalid or no contact information on file. More than 75 percent of respondents felt that the current workshops met their needs for training. The most critical barriers to completion of a Cochrane review were: lack of time (80 percent), lack of financial support (36 percent), methodological problems (23 percent) and problems with group dynamics (10 percent).

Conclusions

Strategies to protect reviewer time and increase the efficiency of the review process may increase the numbers of trained reviewers completing a systematic review.