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Rapid reviews methods series: Guidance on rapid qualitative evidence synthesis

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Fiona CampbellORCiD


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© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2024.This paper forms part of a series of methodological guidance from the Cochrane Rapid Reviews Methods Group and addresses rapid qualitative evidence syntheses (QESs), which use modified systematic, transparent and reproducible methodsu to accelerate the synthesis of qualitative evidence when faced with resource constraints. This guidance covers the review process as it relates to synthesis of qualitative research. ' Rapid' or ' resource-constrained' QES require use of templates and targeted knowledge user involvement. Clear definition of perspectives and decisions on indirect evidence, sampling and use of existing QES help in targeting eligibility criteria. Involvement of an information specialist, especially in prioritising databases, targeting grey literature and planning supplemental searches, can prove invaluable. Use of templates and frameworks in study selection and data extraction can be accompanied by quality assurance procedures targeting areas of likely weakness. Current Cochrane guidance informs selection of tools for quality assessment and of synthesis method. Thematic and framework synthesis facilitate efficient synthesis of large numbers of studies or plentiful data. Finally, judicious use of Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation approach for assessing the Confidence of Evidence from Reviews of Qualitative research assessments and of software as appropriate help to achieve a timely and useful review product.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Booth A, Sommer I, Noyes J, Houghton C, Campbell F

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine

Year: 2024

Pages: epub ahead of print

Online publication date: 14/02/2024

Acceptance date: 22/12/2023

ISSN (print): 2515-446X

ISSN (electronic): 2515-4478

Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1136/bmjebm-2023-112620

PubMed id: 38355285


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