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Methods For Sytematic Reviews


Study Title

 

Study Lead

Health & Social Care
Partner Organisations


Lay Summary

The 'beyond synthesis impact chain'. Review methodologies and reporting techniques that maximise impact and uptake in educational policy and practice

Dr Celia Taylor,
University of Warwick
University of Essex and
University of Birmingham

Looking at how the use of research findings relating to medical education can be used most effectively.

Publication bias in health services and delivery research

Prof Richard Lilford,
University of Warwick
 

Looking at what studies are likely to be published and why in health services and delivery research.

Systematic overview of early childhood cognitive Interventions for promoting child development

Prof Richard Lilford,
University of Warwick

(Systematic review)

Systematic overview of early childhood cognitive interventions for promoting child development.

Literature review for High Intensity Specialist Led Acute Care (HISLAC): systematic review on weekend effects and literature review on consultant effects to facilitate economic modelling

Dr Yen-Fun Chen,
University of Warwick
University Hospitals
Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust

Evaluating seven day consultant cover in hospitals.

Integrating Multiple Sources of Evidence

Dr Sam Watson,
University of Warwick

Health Foundation

In this essay we explore methods for synthesising multiple sources of evidence in health services research. The evaluation of policies or structural interventions in the healthcare system are complicated by the difficulty of linking the intervention to patient level outcomes. Proxy variables are often used in the place of important clinical outcomes such as mortality and quality of life. The researcher must therefore synthesise various forms of evidence from across a causal pathway that links the intervention to the outcomes of interest. We firstly discuss whether the complex nature of a healthcare system hinders understanding of the relevant causal pathways, and whether such systems are amenable to modelling and the synthesis of multiple forms of evidence. An important distinction is drawn between the underlying phenomena that generalise across contexts and the complex data from which they are inferred. We then explore the available methods a researcher might adopt and consider three steps: (i) the design of a causal model; (ii) the identification of the available evidence; and, (iii) the synthesis of multiple forms of evidence including quantitative and qualitative evidence. While many of the methods are well documented, further work is required to develop their use in combination, and understanding how to deal with different study designs, each with their own inherent biases, is still at an early stage. Nevertheless, there exist powerful tools for the synthesis of multiple forms of evidence in health services research.