Plenary session overview

Conference room full of people watching a panel presentation

Speakers for Plenary Sessions will be updated as they are confirmed.

Plenary Session: Equity Matters: Cochrane’s Next Frontier

Cochrane has prioritized health equity as part of its new content strategy for all Cochrane reviews because health is inextricably linked with social determinants of health.  At the heart of this strategy, we recognize that averages may obscure differences in health outcomes across diverse populations that can worsen or perpetuate health inequities. In this session, we will look at the imperative for evidence on equity from decision-makers, how Cochrane is responding to these needs and the rewards and challenges of using these methods in reviews.

Plenary Session: Stakeholder Diversity

Considering the important role Cochrane plays in providing high-quality evidence that serves a variety of stakeholders, this plenary will provide an opportunity for the Cochrane community to hear from representatives of various groups. Speakers will include policy makers, clinicians, and consumers responding to the question, “How has Cochrane addressed your needs?”

Plenary Session: Embracing Methodological Diversity

Speakers will address how to incorporate methodological diversity into Cochrane’s research agenda (e.g., qualitative methods, network metaanalysis, etc.)

As with primary research, systematic reviews ask questions from a variety of epistemological, ideological, and theoretical standpoints. This diversity reflects the different ways in which people ask and answer questions, and the numerous perspectives they have about those questions. Therefore, reviews may differ from each other in many ways along a number of dimensions such as their approach (and epistemology), their structure, and the way in which they are conceptualised. Cochrane has developed and consolidated methods that are primarily related to reviews of the effects of interventions and diagnostic test accuracy. However, a number of other areas relevant to decision maker questions have had different degrees of methodological development within and/or outside Cochrane.
Speakers (to be confirmed) will reflect on the relevance of the following diverse review methodologies for different stakeholders, and how Cochrane is currently addressing the challenge of incorporating and developing these review methods.

  • Qualitative research and qualitative evidence synthesis. The potential contribution of qualitative evidence to decision-making is well established and a synthesis of such evidence (qualitative evidence synthesis) can add value by providing decision-makers with evidence to improve understanding of intervention complexity, contextual variation, implementation, and stakeholder preferences and experiences. However, there are a number of available methods that seems to require a wide range of expertise to be implemented and the selection of which of them should be used to answer a specific review question can be challenging.
  • Rapid reviews. These reviews have become prominent in the context of urgent decision-making processes in order to answer the time-sensitive needs of policymakers (and other decision makers). Although the concept is not novel, it remains a poorly understood and as yet ill-defined set of diverse methodologies supported by a paucity of published, available scientific literature. Additionally, there is tension between a timely response and ensuring that the scientific imperative of methodological rigour is satisfied.

Plenary Session: Cochrane Lecture

Speaker to be confirmed.