Developing Guidance on the Conduct of Narrative Synthesis in Systematic Reviews
Completed Start date May 2003 End date May 2005
We collaborated with colleagues in this ESRC-funded methodological project led by Professor Jennie Popay (University of Lancaster).
The study objectives were:
To review the methodological literature on narrative approaches to evidence synthesis;
To assess existing approaches to narrative synthesis in systematic reviews;
To produce draft guidance on best practice for the narrative synthesis of quantitative and qualitative data;
To test the use of this guidance, and
To disseminate validated good practice guidance on the conduct of narrative synthesis.
The guidance developed as part of this project provides practical examples of the application of the guidance in two 'demonstration narrative syntheses'. These have produced important insights into the potential benefits of narrative approaches to the synthesis of findings from multiple studies. Both highlighted the important contribution that the guidance makes to increasing the transparency of narrative synthesis – an approach widely used but currently lacking in transparency.
Full details of the project and a copy of the guidance can be found here.
Thomson H, Thomas S. The effect direction plot: visual display of non-standardised effects across multiple outcome domains . Research Synthesis Methods 2012;[epub ahead of print]open access
Rodgers M, Arai L, Popay J, Britten N, Roberts H, Petticrew M, Sowden A. Testing methodological guidance on the conduct of narrative synthesis in systematic reviews: effectiveness of interventions to promote smoke alarm ownership and function. Evaluation 2009;15:49-73
Ogilvie D, Fayter D, Petticrew M, Sowden A, Thomas S, Whitehead M. The harvest plot: a method for synthesising evidence about the differential effects of interventions. BMC Medical Research Methodology 2008;8:08pubmed open access
Arai L, Britten N, Popay J, Roberts H, Petticrew M, Rodgers M, Sowden A. Testing methodological developments in the conduct of narrative: a demonstration review of research on the implementation of smoke alarm interventions. Evidence & Policy 2007;3:361-83
Popay J, Roberts H , Sowden A , Petticrew M , Arai L, Rodgers M , Britten N, Roen K, Duffy S. Guidance on the conduct of narrative synthesis in systematic reviews: a product of the ESRC methods programme . Lancaster, 2006