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Cochrane Qualitative and Implementation Methods Group guidance series—paper 6: reporting guidelines for qualitative, implementation, and process evaluation evidence syntheses

Published:December 05, 2017DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclinepi.2017.10.022

      Abstract

      Objectives

      To outline contemporary and novel developments for the presentation and reporting of syntheses of qualitative, implementation, and process evaluation evidence and provide recommendations for the use of reporting guidelines.

      Study Design and Setting

      An overview of reporting guidelines for qualitative, implementation, and process evaluation evidence syntheses drawing on current international literature and the collective expert knowledge of the Cochrane Qualitative and Implementation Methods Group.

      Results

      Several reporting guidelines exist that can be used or adapted to report syntheses of qualitative, implementation, and process evaluation evidence. Methods to develop individual guidance varied. The use of a relevant reporting guideline can enhance the transparency, consistency, and quality of reporting. Guidelines that exist are generic, method specific, and for particular aspects of the reviewing process, searching.

      Conclusion

      Caution is expressed over the potential for reporting guidelines to produce a mechanistic approach moving the focus away from the content and toward the procedural aspects of the review. The use of a reporting guideline is recommended and a five-step decision flowchart to guide the choice of reporting guideline is provided. Gaps remain in method-specific reporting guidelines such as mixed-study, implementation, and process evaluation evidence syntheses.

      Keywords

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