Improving conduct and reporting of narrative synthesis of quantitative data (ICONS-Quant): protocol for a mixed methods study to develop a reporting guideline

Campbell, M. , Katikireddi, S. V. , Sowden, A., McKenzie, J. E. and Thomson, H. (2018) Improving conduct and reporting of narrative synthesis of quantitative data (ICONS-Quant): protocol for a mixed methods study to develop a reporting guideline. BMJ Open, 8(2), e020064. (doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-020064) (PMCID:PMC5855342)

156396.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.



Introduction: Reliable evidence syntheses, based on rigorous systematic reviews, provide essential support for evidence-informed clinical practice and health policy. Systematic reviews should use reproducible and transparent methods to draw conclusions from the available body of evidence. Narrative synthesis of quantitative data (NS) is a method commonly used in systematic reviews where it may not be appropriate, or possible, to meta-analyse estimates of intervention effects. A common criticism of NS is that it is opaque and subject to author interpretation, casting doubt on the trustworthiness of a review’s conclusions. Despite published guidance funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council on the conduct of NS, recent work suggests that this guidance is rarely used and many review authors appear to be unclear about best practice. To improve the way that NS is conducted and reported, we are developing a reporting guideline for NS of quantitative data. Methods: We will assess how NS is implemented and reported in Cochrane systematic reviews and the findings will inform the creation of a Delphi consensus exercise by an expert panel. We will use this Delphi survey to develop a checklist for reporting standards for NS. This will be accompanied by supplementary guidance on the conduct and reporting of NS, as well as an online training resource. Ethics and dissemination: Ethical approval for the Delphi survey was obtained from the University of Glasgow in December 2017 (reference 400170060). Dissemination of the results of this study will be through peer-reviewed publications, and national and international conferences.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Campbell, Ms Mhairi and Katikireddi, Dr Vittal and Thomson, Dr Hilary
Authors: Campbell, M., Katikireddi, S. V., Sowden, A., McKenzie, J. E., and Thomson, H.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:BMJ Open
Publisher:BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN (Online):2044-6055
Published Online:26 February 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in BMJ Open 8(2):e020064
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record

Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
727671SPHSU Core Renewal: Informing Healthy Public Policy Research ProgrammePeter CraigMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/15IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
727651SPHSU Core Renewal: Measuring and Analysing Socioeconomic Inequalities in Health Research ProgrammeAlastair LeylandMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/13IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU