Research synthesis

Research synthesis is about providing information that informs decision making for patients, their health professionals and health policy makers.

The Fetal, Perinatal and Maternal Health Research Synthesis Group undertakes, and supports new and existing authors to undertake, high quality systematic reviews of existing literature. Systematic reviews can identify gaps in research knowledge that require further investigation, which helps to identify effective healthcare interventions and highlight new priority research questions to improve lifelong health and wellbeing of women, their babies and future generations.

The Cochrane Collaboration is an international non-profit independent organisation producing high quality, up to date, synthesised research reviews to promote evidence informed, health decision making.

Systematic reviews

In 2017 and 2018 the Research Synthesis Group produced systematic reviews related to pregnancy, birth and neonatal period and many have led to further research. Access to these reviews and other Cochrane Reviews is free via the Cochrane Library. The healthcare information is available worldwide with plain language summaries available on all topics.

Cochrane Systematic reviews are recognised as an essential prerequisite for identifying gaps in knowledge about care in pregnancy and the neonatal period. Many funding bodies mandate the inclusion of a systematic review in grant applications to provide the rationale for every new research study.

Research skills

Authors of systematic reviews require a range of research skills that include literature searching, assessment of risk of bias, meta-analysis, grading the quality of the evidence and interpretation of the research synthesis for clinical practice and new research.

At the Liggins Institute we encourage, mentor and support all of our students to learn the skills needed to undertake a systematic review. Opportunities exist to sponsor the preparation of a systematic review in areas of maternal health complications such as diabetes, antenatal interventions to improve the health of babies born preterm, complications in labour (malposition of the baby), nutrition of the preterm baby, prevention of diseases of the newborn like hypoglycaemia and respiratory distress syndrome. There is also opportunity to provide funding for a postdoctoral research fellow.

To find out more or to express interest, please email

Published guidelines

Published protocols

Published reviews