Guidance on the conduct of narrative synthesis in sytematic reviews

Jennie Popay, Helen M. Roberts, Amanda Sowden, Mark Petticrew, Lisa Arai, Mark Rodgers, Nicky Britten

    Research output: Book/ReportOther report

    Abstract

    Do domestic smoke alarms save lives? Can youn
    g offenders be 'scared straight' through tough penal
    measures? What factors should
    be considered when designing and implementing a multi-sectoral
    injury prevention programme in a local area? Maki
    ng sense of large bodies of evidence drawn from
    research using a range of methods is a challenge.
    Ensuring that the product of
    this synthesis process
    can be trusted is important for policy makers, for prac
    titioners and for the people research is intended
    to benefit. There are a number of ways in which research evidence can be brought together to give
    an overall picture of current knowl
    edge that can be used to inform policy and practice decisions.
    However, the trustworthiness of some of these methods remains problematic.
    The guidance we set out here focuses on a particular approach -
    narrative synthesis.
    Variants of
    this approach are widely used in work on evidence
    synthesis, including Cochr
    ane reviews, but there is
    currently no consensus on the constituent element
    s of narrative synthesis and the conditions for
    establishing trustworthiness – notably a systematic
    and transparent approach to the synthesis
    process with safeguards in place to avoid bias resulting from the undue emphasis on one study
    relative to another – are frequently absent. This
    guidance therefore aims to contribute to improving
    the quality of narrative approac
    hes to evidence synthesis
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherInstitute for Health Research
    Number of pages92
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2006

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