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Blog: Tips and Tricks for Evidence Synthesis: a seminar series on the HOW in evidence synthesis

In this blog, Laurence Blanchard, co-lead for the evidence synthesis theme within the Centre for Evaluation, introduces us to a new seminar series designed to offer useful tips and tricks for anyone synthesising evidence.

Have you ever wondered HOW some reviewers concretely develop and apply their methods in complex evidence syntheses, and what are their rationale?

This summer, the Centre for Evaluation is organising a short seminar series titled ‘Tips and tricks for evidence synthesis’. Nine experts present their experience of one or more complex evidence syntheses, and explain details that are not usually provided in journal articles. All key classic evidence synthesis ‘steps’ will be covered, from searching the literature to synthesising the results. The series is open to all!

The series was conceived by the three co-leads of the Evidence Synthesis theme: Dr Delia BocciaDr Fiona Majorin, and myself, Laurence Blanchard. The idea started with Fiona who wanted to organise an event for students given the popularity of literature reviews for their MSc dissertation/summer projects due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I was interested in learning more about the ‘HOW’ from speakers and Delia suggested to showcase different types of complex evidence syntheses. We hope that this series highlights the benefits, challenges, and fun in doing evidence syntheses to both regular and new reviewers.

The first seminar focused on protocols. Daniel J Carter, Research Fellow & PhD Candidate at LSHTM, and Dr Jane Dennis, Editor of the Cochrane Injuries Group (based at LSHTM) presented their tips for developing protocols for realist and Cochrane reviews, respectively. You can watch the recording here. Additionally, Emma Cahuzac, MSc Public Health student, has summarised the session in a separate blog post on this page.

The second seminar was about qualitative evidence syntheses. Dr Salla Atkins from Tampere University, Finland, presented her strategy for selecting a meaningful sample of studies from a large volume of qualitative research. Professor Chris Bonell, LSHTM, presented an evidence synthesis of theories of change that involved drawing diagrams and using techniques from meta-ethnography. You can watch the recording here.

The third seminar will be held on July 28 and present different evidence syntheses approaches. Dr Silvia Maritano from the University of Turin, Italy, will present tricks for dealing with heterogeneity. Yanaina Chavez-Ugalde, PhD candidate at the University of Bristol, will share her tips for conducting a critical interpretative synthesis. I will present an ongoing evidence map and overview of reviews. For more info, please see the events page.

The last seminar will be on August 11 with Dr Mukdarut Bangpan and Dr Dylan Kneale, both from the EPPI-Centre, UCL. To get more details closer to the time, please register for the Centre for Evaluation’s newsletter or visit the LSHTM Events page.

If you wish to learn about evidence syntheses, you may also be interested in LSHTM’s short course on systematic reviews and meta-analyses or you can contact the Centre for Evaluation at evaluation@lshtm.ac.uk for workshops designed specifically for your team.

Laurence Blanchard

Research Fellow at LSHTM & Co-lead of the Evidence Synthesis theme, Centre for Evaluation

Laurence.blanchard1@lshtm.ac.uk

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