Working with diverse evidence in Cochrane Reviews: methods and tools to support integration of qualitative and quantitative evidence

Core Methods Workshop

Workshop category: 

  • Qualitative evidence synthesis methodology
Date and Location


Wednesday 23 October 2019 - 14:00 to 15:30


Contact persons and facilitators

Contact person:


Harden A1, Noyes J1, Sutcliffe K2, Pantoja T3, Thomas J4, Garside R5
1 Qualitative and Implementation Methods Group, UK
2 EPPI Centre, University College London, UK
3 Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Chile
4 EPPI-Centre, University College London, UK
5 University of Exeter, UK


Booth A1, Flemming K1, Cargo M2
1 Cochrane Qualitative and Implementation Methods Group, UK
2 Cochrane Qualitative and Implementation Methods Group, Australia
Target audience

Target audience: 

Review authors, consumers

Level of difficulty: 

Type of workshop

Type of workshop : 



Background: methods for the systematic review and synthesis of qualitative research are now well established and decision makers are able to access rigorously synthesized evidence on issues such as patient experiences of health conditions and interventions, and contextual factors influencing intervention implementation. The majority of these reviews are ‘stand-alone’ reviews, which do not directly speak to reviews of intervention effectiveness on the same topic. These are potentially lost opportunities for harnessing the value of diverse types of evidence within the same or linked reviews.

The Cochrane Qualitative and Implementation Methods Group (CQIMG) develops and publishes guidance on the synthesis of qualitative and mixed-method evidence from process evaluations and stand-alone, qualitative studies. In this workshop participants will work with our recently updated guidance on approaches, methods and tools, which can be used to navigate the challenge of integrating findings from quantitative studies evaluating intervention effectiveness with those from qualitative studies and process evaluations. We will support participants to evaluate critically key methods and tools as devices for integration such as juxtaposing findings in a matrix, using logic models/conceptual frameworks, analyzing program theory, testing hypotheses with subgroup analysis and qualitative comparative analysis, as featured in the recent guidance.

Objectives: by the end of this workshop participants will be able to:
- recognise options for integrating quantitative and qualitative evidence within/alongside a systematic review of effects;
- identify points in the review process at which integration is feasible and appropriate;
- describe major challenges, and potential responses, when integrating quantitative and qualitative evidence;
- apply lessons learnt to their own review activity.

Description: this interactive workshop is based on actual Cochrane Reviews and presents options for integrating quantitative and qualitative data (10 minutes). Group exercises, supported by experienced facilitators, illustrate different methods of integration (50 minutes). Groups are encouraged to think reflectively (10 minutes) on strengths and limitations of diverse approaches, as featured in the recent guidance. The session concludes with an open forum to address specific issues relating to participants’ review activity (10 minutes). Timings allow 10 minutes for flexibility.