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Seminar Series - Prof. Jane Noyes: CerQual – new approach to qualitative evidence syntheses analysis

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Published on Oct 13, 2014

Originally Recorded: 23rd October 2013

Full Title: CerQual – developing a new approach to determine the certainty of findings from qualitative evidence syntheses.

Working as part of an international team of reviewers in low, middle and high income countries, we completed a suite of reviews to inform the new WHO global guideline on workforce optimisation and task shifting to meet maternal child health Millennium Development Goals. Using Cochrane methods, intervention reviews were matched with an additional qualitative synthesis of the barriers and facilitators to programme implementation. This was the first time that WHO had presented synthesised qualitative evidence in addition to evidence of intervention effect to the guideline panel to inform decision-making.




Policy and decision-makers generally like the GRADE approach to determining the certainty of pooled outcomes from trials. Based on GRADE principles - we devised a new approach – CerQual – to determine the certainty of qualitative synthesised findings. This seminar will focus on the development and application of CerQual in this context. The CerQual development team have been working closely with the GRADE working group and it is likely that CerQual will be developed further with on-going collaboration and dialogue with GRADE. CerQual has now been trialled in two Cochrane and one non-Cochrane reviews. Colleagues are invited to further test CerQual in their own reviews.

The paired lay health worker intervention review, and the qualitative evidence synthesis of the barriers and facilitators to lay health worker implementation also represent a first for Cochrane – the first paired reviews with a logic model to integrate the quantitative and qualitative findings published in the Cochrane Library. These reviews are also being used to inform a reverse innovation project of community health workers from the Brazil Family Health Strategy to NHS primary healthcare in North Wales.

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