Methods for Research Synthesis. The logic and practice of research synthesis' — 8 th July 2005 —. David Gough EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London. Today’s seminar. Welcome and introduction Purpose, principles and potential
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EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London
Five streams of work:
David Gough (Director), Ann Oakley (Founding Director)
Angela Harden and Sandy Oliver (Co-directors HP & PH)
Jo Garcia (User involvement, Education)
Developing and promoting participatory and user-friendly systematic reviews addressing important questions in different domains of policy, practice and research in the public interest
Workplace health promotion
Peer-delivered health promotion for young people
Young people and smoking
Older people and accidents
Young people and sexual health
Men who have sex with men (MSM) and sexual health
Young people and:
Incentives for young people
Teenage pregnancy and parenting
Risk behaviour and accidental injury
HIV-health promotion for MSM
6 reviews of older people and accident prevention
Total studies included 137
Common to at least two reviews 33
Common to all six reviews 2
Treated consistently in all reviews 1
From Oliver S, Peersman G, Harden A and Oakley A (1999) Discrepancies in findings from effectiveness reviews: the case of health promotion for older people in accident and injury prevention. Health Ed J, 58:66-77.
Some, limited evidence from health about how this affects estimates of effect:
*Egger et al (2003) op cit.
How are decisions made about the entry of people aged 65+ to care services?
Taylor B, Dempster M and Donnelly M (2003) Hidden Gems: systematically Searching Electronic Databases for Research Publications for Social Work and Social Care. C J Social Work, 33:423-429.
*Adapted from: Harden A, Peersman G, Oliver S, Oakley A (1999) Identifying primary research on electronic databases to inform decision-making in health promotion: the case of sexual health promotion. Health Education Journal 58: 290–301.
Table 1. Systematic and traditional reviews compared
Pettigrew, M. (2001) Systematic reviews BMJ, 322,98-101
A systematic review develops an evidence-based statement in a particular area of interest. It is a piece of research in its own right using explicit and transparent methods following a standard set of procedures. This means it can be replicated. It judges the quality and relevance of evidence for a given question.
Chalmers I (2003) Trying to do more good than harm in policy and practice: the role of rigorous, transparent, up to date, replicable evaluation. Paper commissioned for the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.
“The risk of cot death is reduced if babies are NOT put on the tummy to sleep. Place your baby on the back to sleep…. …..Healthy babies placed on their backs are not more likely to choke.”
“Teaching is not at present a research-based profession”
Hargreaves D (1996) Teaching as a research-based profession: possibilities and prospects. Teacher Training Agency (TTA) Annual Lecture. London: TTA.
Procedural (craft / apprentice) Vs. declarative (for e.g. research based) knowledge
“..(which is) presented in a form or medium which is largely inaccessible to a non-academic audience; and lack(s) interpretation for a policy-making or practitioner audience”.
Hillage J, Pearson R, Anderson A, Tamkin P (1998) Excellence in Research in Schools. London: Department for Education and Employment/Institute of Employment Studies.
“We are, through the media, as ordinary citizens, confronted daily with controversy and debate across a whole spectrum of public policy issues. But typically, we have no access to any form of a systematic ‘evidence base’ - and therefore no means of participating in the debate in a mature and informed manner”.
AFM Smith (1996) Mad cows and ecstasy: chance and choice in an evidence-based society. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society 159(3): 367-383.
By preparing systematic reviews of the results of relevant, reliable researchAdditional research, IF systematic reviews of existing research show that this is needed
Form review team
Formulate review question and develop protocol
Search for and screen studies (search strategy)
Describe studies (systematic map of research)
Assess study quality (and relevance)
Synthesise findings (answering review question)
Communicate and engage
TRADE OFF BETWEEN SENSITIVITY AND SPECIFICITY
Tend to build on techniques used in primary research
Provision of pre- and post- data on outcomes
Provision of data on all outcomes measured
Employment of equivalent control/comparison group
Resulted in ‘high’, ‘medium’ and ‘not sound’/ ‘low’ trials
Quality of reporting (5 items)
Sufficiency of strategies for reliability/validity (4 items)
Extent to which study findings were rooted in children’s own perspectives (3 items)Quality-assessment methods