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Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care (EPOC) Qualitative Evidence Syntheses, Differences From Reviews of Intervention Effectiveness and Implications for Guidance

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Claire Glenton, Simon Lewin, Soo Downe, Elizabeth Paulsen, Susan Munabi-Babigumira, Smisha Agarwal, Heather Ames, Sara Cooper, Karen Daniels, Catherine Houghton, Akram Karimi‐Shahanjarini, Hlengiwe Moloi, Willem Odendaal, Elham Shakibazadeh, Lavanya Vasudevan, Andreas Xyrichis, Meghan A. Bohren

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Methods
Published11 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Development of the template described in this paper was funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation (Norad), via the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health provided additional direct funding. Publisher Copyright: © The Author(s) 2022.

King's Authors


Systematic reviews of qualitative research (‘qualitative evidence syntheses’) are increasingly popular and represent a potentially important source of information about people’s views, needs and experiences. Since 2013, Cochrane has published qualitative evidence syntheses, and the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care group has been involved in the majority of these reviews. But more guidance is needed on how to prepare these reviews in an environment that is more familiar with reviews of quantitative research. In this paper, we describe and reflect on how Cochrane qualitative evidence syntheses differ from reviews of intervention effectiveness and how these differences have influenced the guidance developed by the EPOC group. In particular, we discuss how it has been important to display to end users, firstly, that qualitative evidence syntheses are carried out with rigour and transparency, and secondly, that these quality standards need to reflect qualitative research traditions. We also discuss lessons that reviews of effectiveness might learn from qualitative research.

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