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Dealing with complex reviews: how to do narrative synthesis well

An Exeter Medical School seminar
Date26 May 2017
Time13:30 to 14:30
PlaceEMS Building G18

Speaker: Dr Hilary Thomson, University of Glasgow

The seminar is intended for anyone interested in systematic review methods. Theworkshop is intended for those specifically working with quantitative systematic reviews,wanting to develop skills in narrative synthesis.


Systematic reviewers often encounter complex and heterogeneous samples of studies which may not be amenable to meta-analysis. Where data cannot be meta-analysed, the data may be synthesised narratively, but this is often poorly reported. The seminar will provide an insight into the importance of narrative synthesis, the key components of good practice, and useful tools to improve transparency. Workshop attendees will be provided with extracted and tabulated data from a published Cochrane review of a public health intervention, and will work in small groups towards a brief narrative synthesis.

We are delighted to welcome international expert Dr Hilary Thomson to present these sessions. Hilary leads the evidence synthesis theme (Improving the quality and utility of evidence synthesis) within the Informing Healthy Public Policy programme at the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit at the University of Glasgow. Hilary has extensive experience in conducting large complex reviews of questions about the health impacts of social policy interventions such as housing, transport, and welfare. This includes work to improve the transparency of non-statistical methods of synthesis, interpretation of complex reviews and assessing Risk of Bias in Non-Randomised Studies. In addition to a range of systematic reviews, Hilary is a Co-I on the NIHR funded Complex Reviews Support Unit and is co-ordinating editor of Cochrane Public Health.

For more details, search for the events on MyCareerZone, or click here: https://mycareerzone.exeter.ac.uk/students/events/detail/476208/dealing-with-complexreviews- h

Please email Michael Nunns for more details and to register for the workshop: M.p.nunns@exeter.ac.uk (Refreshments (tea, coffee, cake) will be provided for workshop attendees)

OrganizerMichael Nunns

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