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Systematic Reviews in the Social Sciences: A Practical Guide

Systematic Reviews in the Social Sciences: A Practical Guide - Free Ebook Download

Book Detail

Author/Editor(s): Mark Petticrew, Helen Roberts
Publication Date: December 16, 2005
ISBN-10: 1405121106
ISBN-13: 978-1405121101
Language: English
Edition: 1
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Size: 1.47 MB
Format: pdf

Book Description

Such diverse thinkers as Lao-Tze, Confucius, and U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld have all pointed out that we need to be able to tell the difference between real and assumed knowledge. The systematic review is a scientific tool that can help with this difficult task. It can help, for example, with appraising, summarising, and communicating the results and implications of otherwise unmanageable quantities of data. This is important because quite often there are so many studies, and their results are often so conflicting, that no policymaker or practitioner could possibly carry out this task themselves.

Systematic review methods have been widely used in health care, and are becoming increasingly common in the social sciences (fostered, for example, by the work of the Campbell Collaboration). This book outlines the rationale and methods of systematic reviews, giving worked examples from social science and other fields. It requires no previous knowledge, but takes the reader through the process stage by stage. It draws on examples from such diverse fields as psychology, criminology, education, transport, social welfare, public health, and housing and urban policy, among others.

The book includes detailed sections on assessing the quality of both quantitative, and qualitative research; searching for evidence in the social sciences; meta-analytic and other methods of evidence synthesis; publication bias; heterogeneity; and approaches to dissemination.

About the Author

Mark Petticrew is an associate director of the MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit at the University of Glasgow, Co-ordinator of the ESRC Centre for Evidence-Based Public Health Policy, and has written widely on systematic reviews.

Helen Roberts is a social scientist, and professor of Child Health at City University, where she leads the Child Health Research and Policy Unit. Until 2001 she was Head of R&D at Barnardos. Her most recent book is What Works for Children (ed) with Di McNeish and Tony Newman.

Reviews

The book is noteworthy in terms of its comprehensive coverage of issues and inclusive perspective with respect to study inclusion, study quality assessment and findings synthesis. The guide’s ecumenical’ perspective is certainly a strength inasmuch as different readers will find inspiration and interesting suggestions on how to conduct different types of SR.

--Political Studies Review, May 2009

Anyone who wants to learn, or understand, about systematic reviewing should beg, borrow, steal or buy a copy ofSystematic Reviews in the Social Sciences. It's a real gold-mine of information presented clearly and with great humour.

--Sir Michael Rawlins, Chairman, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), UK

This book is a veritable compendium – it richly combines history and cutting edge debates in social policy, care and public health with practical recommendations for high quality syntheses of relevant research. I strongly recommend this to those in public health and social care interested in understanding what works for whom and why.

--Elizabeth Waters, Deakin University, Australia

The importance and value of systematic reviews for the social sciences, policy making and professional practice is only now being fully appreciated. This book by Petticrew and Roberts is a comprehensive, thorough and very readable practical guide. It is a must for all social scientists who want to know how to harness existing social science evidence and identify what we know and what we don't.

--Philip Davies, Government Social Research Unit, Cabinet Office, UK

Finding out what we really know is the fundamental challenge in all attempts to improve life on planet earth. This book provides an excellently readable introduction to the principles and practice of systematic reviews - the major tool of a policy-relevant social science. The authors have done a magnificent job in making a convincing case for systematic reviews, in dispelling distracting myths about such reviews as purely technical procedures limited to 'what works?' questions, and most of all in providing the social science research and policy community with the invaluable resource of a practical how-to-do it guide.

--Professor Ann Oakley, Professor of Sociology & Social Policy and Founding Director of Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London

Engaging and relevant, this book is both an explanation of and a practical guide to constructing and doing systematic reviews... [it] has given me a route into understanding this area of research and a basis to improve critical appraisal of others' work.

--Connie Smith, Senior Research Specialist, The Scottish Parliament Information Centre. Social Research Association News, August 2006

Petticrew and Roberts – while providing a rigorous and impeccably academic treatment of their subject – include numerous lighter moments which help maintain the reader’s interest...The authors are to be commended for tackling an important topic in an informative yet enjoyable manner – this book is highly recommended.

--Jeremy J. Walker, Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness, June 2007
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