Integrating the findings of a qualitative evidence synthesis (QES) with the findings of a review of intervention effects


  • Qualitative synthesis methods
Date and Location


Monday 4 September 2023 - 16:00 to 17:30


Contact persons and facilitators

Contact person:


Sutcliffe K1, Noyes J2, Harden A2, Ames H3, Houghton C4, Thomas J1, Pantoja T5, Garside R6, Booth A7
1 EPPI Centre, University College London, United Kingdom
2 ,
3 The Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Norway
4 University of Galway, Ireland, Ireland
5 Department of Family Medicine, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Chile
6 University of Exeter, United Kingdom
7 Cochrane Qualitative and Implementation Methods Group, United Kingdom


France E1, Flemming K2
1 University of Stirling, UK
2 University of York, UK
Target audience

Target audience: 

Review authors with an interest in integrating qualitative and effectiveness evidence

Level of difficulty: 

Type of workshop

Type of workshop : 



QMIG Methods Workshop

Background: Methods for qualitative evidence synthesis (QES)—a systematic review method for bringing together qualitative studies—are now well established, and decision-makers are able to access rigorous QES on issues such as patient experiences and contextual factors influencing intervention implementation. QES often generates theories and explanations about why and how interventions work. By integrating these theories with evidence on intervention effects, review teams can offer vital information to support the implementation of review findings in practice. However, the diversity of approaches for integrating QES and effectiveness syntheses can make it challenging for reviewers to understand how best to integrate.

The Cochrane Qualitative and Implementation Methods Group (CQIMG) develops and publishes guidance on conducting QES and integrating QES findings with evidence on intervention effects. In this CQIMG methods workshop, participants will learn to distinguish between two key integration approaches. Comparison of syntheses involves systematically comparing the QES and effectiveness synthesis findings; for example, the findings from each synthesis may be juxtaposed in a matrix, to illustrate where they are concordant and discordant and where there are gaps. Connection of syntheses involves using the findings of one synthesis (QES or effectiveness) to inform the data extraction and synthesis of a second synthesis; for example, the QES findings may be used to structure a subgroup analysis of the effectiveness data. Participants will draw on real integration examples and critically examine the diversity of methods and tools.

Objectives: By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to
- recognise and appraise approaches and tools for integrations;
- describe challenges, and potential opportunities, for integration; and
- apply lessons learnt to their own review activity.

Description: This interactive workshop presents options for integrating QES and intervention effects data (10 minutes) using Cochrane, Campbell and other reviews as examples. Group exercises, supported by experienced facilitators, illustrate different integration methods and tools (50 minutes). Groups are encouraged to think reflectively (10 minutes) on strengths and limitations of diverse approaches. The session concludes with an open forum to address issues relating to participants’ review activity (10 minutes). Timings allow 10 minutes for flexibility.