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Evidence Synthesis of QUalItative Research

in Europe (ESQUIRE14) Methods Workshop on Qualitative Evidence Synthesis



*  The sixth ESQUIRE Methods Workshop on Qualitative Evidence Synthesis (ESQUIRE14) was held at Halifax Hall, Sheffield, UK from Tuesday 2nd September 2014-Thursday 4th September 2014. *

ESQUIRE15 is currently being planned for September 2015 

*                                                                                                                                                                *


This is a site to support the Evidence Synthesis of QUalItative Research in Europe (ESQUIRE) Methods Workshops on Qualitative Evidence Synthesis [Co-ordinated by the Cochrane Qualitative Research Methods Group]


Overview of the course:

This course is designed to provide participants with a state-of-the art perspective on the methodology of qualitative systematic reviews (qualitative evidence syntheses). It will focus on methods that feature in the forthcoming guidance of the Cochrane Qualitative Research Methods Group but will also incorporate a broader perspective on available methods of qualitative synthesis.


Suitable for:

  • Qualitative Researchers who want to learn how to synthesise qualitative research
  • Systematic Reviewers who want to learn how to translate synthesis methods to qualitative data
  • PhD Students in topic areas that will require substantive review of qualitative research
  • New researchers who want to develop evidence synthesis/systematic review
  • Qualitative systematic reviewers who want to update and extend their skills and knowledge


Expected outcomes of this Programme:

By the end of this programme participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the main methods of evidence synthesis in terms of their strengths and weaknesses
  2. Rehearse the stages of the systematic review process, specifically in relation to the methodological challenges associated with synthesis of qualitative evidence
  3. Distinguish between aggregative and interpretive approaches to qualitative evidence synthesis
  4. Identify circumstances under which framework analysis or grounded theory-based approaches to synthesis are most appropriate
  5. Describe the requirements for presenting data and disseminating the findings of qualitative evidence syntheses, both as standard-alone reviews and when integrating with the outputs of quantitative systematic reviews.


Overview of content:

The course will follow the main steps of the systematic review process as it applies, and is adapted to, qualitative evidence syntheses. The Programme Faculty will take participants through the stages of defining and exploring scope, conducting the literature searches, quality assessing studies for inclusion, synthesising data and writing up and presenting the product of the synthesis. The emphasis will be on those aspects of methods that either relate specifically to qualitative evidence synthesis or that need to be translated or adapted in order to meet new methodological challenges. Participants will be provided with an excellent overview of current methods of qualitative evidence synthesis together with practical experience of key stages in the review process.


Pre course requirements

No formal experience is required. A working knowledge of standard systematic review methods will be an advantage – alternatively participants would find it helpful to read Systematic Reviews: CRD’s guidance for undertaking reviews in healthcare (http://www.york.ac.uk/inst/crd/systematic_reviews_book.htmprior to the course. A background in qualitative research methodologies would be advantageous but is not essential .



The Halifax Conference Centre, Sheffield, S10 3ER

Overview of Course Structure <Programme>:

Day One         2nd September 2014

13:00 p.m. – 17:00 p.m. - Introduction and Overview plus Focusing the Question and Searching


Day Two         3rd September 2014

09:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m - Data Extraction and Quality Assessment

13:30 p.m. – 17:00 p.m. – Analysis, Synthesis and Writing Up


Day Three      4th September 2014

09:00 a.m. – 15:30 p.m - Issues & Challenges for Qualitative Research


Day One - Tuesday 2nd September 2014

Session 1 - Overview, Focusing the Question and Searching


1pm    Introduction and Overview -   Dr Andrew Booth <Powerpoint>


1.30pm    Focusing the Question -   Dr Janet Harris <Powerpoint> 


2.15pm   Qualitative Evidence Synthesis - Case Study -   Dr Andrew Booth <Powerpoint>


2.45pm  Break


3.15pm  Planning Your Review - Dr Andrew Booth <Powerpoint>


3.45pm   Searching  for Qualitative Evidence, Using Filters & Supplementary Methods -   Dr Andrew Booth <Powerpoint> <Handout>


4.45pm  Summary of the Day - Dr Andrew Booth


5pm  Close




Day Two –Wednesday 3rd September 2014

Session Two - Data Extraction & Quality Assessment


9.30am   Choosing a Method of Qualitative Synthesis - Dr Andrew Booth <Powerpoint>


9.45am   Introducing QES Methods – the Basics (Thematic Synthesis and Framework Synthesis) - Dr Andrew Booth & Ms Fiona Campbell <Powerpoint>


10:30am  Break


10.45am  Workshop: Thematic Synthesis and Framework Synthesis - (Part One – Study Selection & Data Extraction) - Dr Andrew Booth & Ms Fiona Campbell

<Powerpoint<Article A> <Article B><Article C><Article D><Article E> <Handout 1> <Handout 2>

<Theory A> <Theory B> <Theory C> <Theory D>


11.30am  Workshop: Thematic Synthesis and Framework Synthesis - (Part Two – Quality Assessment) - Dr Andrew Booth & Ms Fiona Campbell <Checklist A> <Checklist B>


12.30pm   Lunch




Session Three – Analysis, Synthesis and Writing Up

1.30pm  Workshop: Thematic Synthesis and Framework Synthesis - (Part Three  –  Synthesising  across Studies) - Dr Andrew Booth & Ms Fiona Campbell 


3.00pm  Break & Refreshments


3.15pm  Workshop: Thematic Synthesis and Framework Synthesis - (Part Four – Completing the Analysis) - Dr Andrew Booth & Ms Fiona Campbell 


3.45 pm  Feedback and Summing Up - Ms Fiona Campbell


4.15pm   Where to Next? - Dr Andrew Booth


4.30pm   Writing Up and DisseminationDr Andrew Booth <Powerpoint>


5pm  Close




Day Three – Thursday 4th September 2014

Session Four - Methodological Challenges - Focusing, Study Identification and Assessment

Chair Mr Andrew Booth

9am  Realist Synthesis 101 - Dr Andrew Booth <Powerpoint>


9:30am  Meta – ethnography 101 - Dr Ruth Garside <Powerpoint>


10am  Overview of Methodological Issues - Dr Andrew Booth <Powerpoint>


10.15am  Issues and Challenges around Scoping, Focusing the Question & Use of Models and Theory - Dr Janet Harris <Powerpoint>


11am  Issues and Challenges around Searching for Literature - Dr Andrew Booth <Powerpoint>


11.20am  Break


11:50am  Issues and Challenges around Assessing Qualitative Research - Dr Ruth Garside <Powerpoint>


12.30pm  Lunch




Session Five - Methodological Challenges - Synthesis and Integration

Chair Dr Janet Harris

1.30pm  Issues and Challenges around Synthesising Qualitative Research -  Dr Andrew Booth <Powerpoint>


2.15pm  Issues and Challenges around Integrating Qualitative and Quantitative Data - Professor James Thomas <Powerpoint>


3.00pm  Methodological Roundtable Discussion - Dr Andrew Booth, Dr Ruth Garside, Professor James Thomas & Dr Janet Harris


3.20pm  The Way Forward – Taking your Interest Further - Dr Andrew Booth & Dr Janet Harris


3.30pm  Refreshments and Departure



Select Bibliography


Further Information


ASQUS Discussion List

Cochrane Handbook - Chapter 20: Qualitative research and Cochrane reviews. Noyes J, Popay J, Pearson A, Hannes K and Booth A on behalf of the Cochrane Qualitative Research Methods Group. Copyright © 2008 The Cochrane Collaboration.

Cochrane Qualitative Evidence Synthesis Register
Cochrane Qualitative Research Methods Group 

Realist synthesis protocols:

Protocol: a realist review of user fee exemption policies for health services in Africa

Protocol: Assessing the outcomes of participatory research: protocol for identifying, selecting, appraising and synthesizing the literature for realist review

Protocol: Understanding the relationship between the perceived characteristics of clinical practice guidelines and their uptake: protocol for a realist review


Tools to Assist Qualitative Reviewers

  • Cochrane Guidance

Chapter 1: Developing a protocol in REVMAN (in development)

Chapter 2: Question Formulation

Chapter 3: Searching

Chapter 4: Critical appraisal

Chapter 5: Data-extraction

Chapter 6: Synthesis


CRD Undertaking Systematic Reviews - Chapter 6 on Incorporating qualitative evidence in or alongside effectiveness reviews

Exemplar: 'Medication career' or 'Moral career'? The two sides of managing antidepressants: A metaethnography of patients' experience of antidepressants


Email: Andrew Booth


An Archive of the materials from ESQUIRE2009ESQUIRE2010ESQUIRE2011; ESQUIRE2012; ESQUIRE2013 is also available. 



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