An aid to systematic reviews of research in vocational education and training in Australia

Vocational education and training Adult education Australia

Key messages

  • A systematic review of research is a decision-making tool for policy and practice. It is a piece of research in its own right, using explicit and rigorous methods that follow a standard set of stages. These methods identify, critically appraise and synthesise relevant research (both published and unpublished) around a specific research question.
  • The review process allows for different studies to be weighted for relevance and quality of findings to answer a given question. The ultimate effect of this is that research can influence a review’s conclusion only when based on agreed guidelines, and when the reviewers have confidence in the research.
  • In undertaking the first systematic review of research in vocational education and training (VET) in Australia on the mature-aged and skill development activities, the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) was required to also establish a model and infrastructure for future reviews. NCVER’s proposed eight-step model is outlined in this report.
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