Understanding the approaches and rationale for using qualitative synthesis and mixed methods systematic reviews to support evidence-informed practice and policy making
Evidence users often have queries that cannot be answered solely with quantitative data. As a result, interest in the synthesis of qualitative research has blossomed over recent decades. This type of research methodology can help answer questions such as ‘What is it like to live with a long-term condition?’, ‘Why and how did the treatment work?’ and ‘How acceptable is this test likely to be in my population?’ Such information adds a different layer of knowledge to a quantitative review, providing information on context, a more nuanced understanding of a phenomenon, or it can lead to the creation of a new concept or theory. Likewise, bringing together data from qualitative and quantitative research, in the form of a mixed methods review, has become increasingly important to address complex health-related questions. Mixed methods reviews move beyond just answering questions about effectiveness to also consider how something works and why; bringing together qualitative and quantitative data in this way can provide a broader insight into how complex interventions are experienced and work (or not).
The course will explore key approaches to undertaking a qualitative synthesis (e.g. meta-ethnography and thematic synthesis). It will also consider the purpose of mixed methods reviews and how they are produced. Sessions on the course will be delivered by researchers who can draw on their real-world experiences of conducting such reviews and their applicability to clinical practice and policy making. We will discuss debates around quality and rigour and patient involvement. The course will also cover how best to locate research papers to include in a qualitative or mixed methods review, delivered by a librarian with expertise in this area.
The last date for receipt of complete applications is 5pm Friday 16th June 2023. Regrettably, late applications cannot be accepted.
By the end of the course, students will be able to:
- Demonstrate an understanding of different approaches to synthesising qualitative research and identify variations between them
- Demonstrate an understanding of different approaches to undertaking mixed methods reviews and identify variations between them
- Select the most appropriate review approach to address particular types of research questions
- Devise literature searches to systematically locate relevant publications for a qualitative or mixed methods systematic review
- Demonstrate an understanding of complex issues related to quality and rigour in qualitative systematic reviews and mixed methods reviews
- Explain the role of Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) in qualitative or mixed methods systematic reviews
Course or Module specific academic requirements:
- An understanding of qualitative research will be assumed
- Knowledge of systematic reviewing would be advantageous but is not essential