Concordia University

Systematic reviews


Led by Bob Bernard, members of this team (Phil AbramiRichard SchmidEvgueni BorokhovskiAnne Wade, and David Pickup) are involved in the production of systematic reviews of the impact of educational interventions.

A systematic review is a compilation and synthesis of research on a clearly formulated question that may address issues of educational theory, practice, policy or a combination of the three. If statistical methods are used to synthesize research, the review is generally referred to as a meta-analysis. Specifically, this team;

  • focusses on the conduct of high quality and timely systematic reviews of research to address these questions, especially ones focusing on the effectiveness of interventions or “what works”;
  • develops expertise in the methodology of systematic reviews and procedures for disseminating research evidence to scholars, policy-makers, practitioners and the general public in a timely, cost-effective, clear, and impactful manner;
  • actively encourages links between researchers, the community, and the general public; and
  • links to researchers, policy-makers and practitioners in aligned areas, such as the health sciences, to collaborate on a broader mission of using evidence to improve the quality of life for all Canadians.

Using methods that are objective, repeatable, transparent, systematic, comprehensive and integrative, team members identify, select and critically appraise relevant research for inclusion in each review, and collect and analyze data from the included research.

Recent projects

Project 1

Selected related publication:

Borokhovski, E., Bernard, R.M., Tamim, R., Abrami, P.C., & Schmid, R.F. (September 2015). Can We Measure the Comparative Effects on Learning of the Student-Centered and Teacher-Centered Pedagogical Practices: Preliminary Results of a Meta-Analysis. A paper presented at the WERA Focal Meeting. Budapest, Hungary (September 7 – September 10, 2015).

Bernard, R. M., Borokhovski, E., et al. (2013, April). Teacher-centered and Student-centered pedagogy:  A meta-analysis of classroom practices and processes. Poster presented at the 2013 meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA.

Project 2

Selected related publications:

Bernard, R. M. & Borokhovski, E. F. (2015). Detecting and preventing bias in meta-analysis: What could you learn by systematically conducting systematic reviews? Psychology-Economics-Law (1), 6-28. [Бернард Р.М. & Бороховский Е.Ф. (2015). Возможные искажения в мета-аналитических исследованиях. Психология. Экономика. Право. (1), 6-28.]

Bernard, R. M., Borokhovski, E., Schmid, R. F., & Tamim, R. M. (2014). An exploration of bias in meta-analysis: The case of of technology integration research in higher education. Journal of Computing in Higher Education. 26(3), 183-209.

Bernard, R. M., Borokhovski, E., & Tamim, R. M. (2014). Big pictures we can rely on: Detecting bias in meta-analyses of distance education research. Distance Education, 35(3), 271-293.

Bernard, R. M. (2014). Things I have learned about meta-analysis since 1990: Reducing bias in search of “The Big Picture.”Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 40(3). Available from

Project 3

Selected related publications:

Abrami, P. C., Bernard, R. M., Borokhovski, E., Waddington, D., Wade, C. A. & Persson, T. (2014). Strategies for teaching students to think critically: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research. OnlineFirst.

Abrami, P. C., Bernard, R. M., Borokhovski, E., Wade, A., Surkes, M. A., Tamim, R., & Zhang, D. A. (2008). Instructional interventions affecting critical thinking skills and dispositions: A stage one meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 78(4), 1102-1134,

Project 4

Selected related publications:

Bernard, R. M., Borokhovski, E., & Tamim, R. M. (in press). The state of research on distance, online, and blended learning from the perspectives of meta-analyses and qualitative systematic reviews. Distance Education Research Handbook. New York, NY: Routledge.

Borokhovski, E., Tamim, R. M., Bernard, R. M., Abrami, P. C., & Sokolovskaya, A. (2012). Are contextual and design student-student interaction treatments equally effective in distance education? A follow-up meta-analysis of comparative empirical studies. Distance Education, 33(3), 311-329.

Bernard, R. M., Abrami, P. C., Borokhovski, E., Wade, A., Tamim, R., Surkes, M., & Bethel, E. C. (2009). A meta-analysis of three interaction treatments in distance education. Review of Educational Research, 79(3) 1243-1289.

Bernard, R. M., Abrami, P. C., Lou, Y., Borokhovski, E., Wade, A., Wozney, L., Wallet, P. A., Fiset, M., & Huang, B. (2004). How does distance education compare to classroom instruction? A Meta-analysis of the empirical literature. Review of Educational Research, 74(3), 379-439.

Project 5

Selected related publications:

Bernard, R. M., Borokhovski, E., Schmid, R. F. & Tamim, R. M. (In press). Gauging the effectiveness of technology in education: What the best-quality meta-analyses tell us. In: Learning, Design, and Technology. An International Compendium of Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy.  J. M. Spector, B. B. Lockee, & M. D. Childress (Eds.). Heidelberg, DE: Springer.

Borokhovski, E., Bernard, R.M., Tamim, R.M., & Schmid, R.F. (2016). Technology Integration in postsecondary education: A summary of findings from a set of related meta-analyses. Russian Psychological Journal, 13(4), 284-302.

Schmid, R. F., Bernard, R. M., Borokhovski, E., Tamim, R., Abrami, P. C., Wade, A., & Woods, J. (2014). The effects of technology use in postsecondary education: A meta-analysis of classroom applications. Computers & Education, 72(2014), 271-291.

Bernard, R. M., Borokhovski, E., Schmid, R., Tamim, R., & Abrami, P. C. (2014). A meta-analysis of blended learning and technology use in higher education: The general and the applied. Journal of Computing in Higher Education. Advance online publication.

D’Angelo, C., Rutstein, D., Harris, C., Bernard, R. M., Borokhovski, E., Haertel, G. (2014). Simulations for STEM Learning: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Menlo Park, CA: SRI International. EndFragment.

Tamim, R. M., Bernard, R. M., Borokhovski, E., Abrami, P. C., & Schmid, R. F. (2011). What forty years of research says about the impact of technology on learning: A second-order meta-analysis and validation study. Review of Educational Research. 81(3), 4-28.


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