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Writing the report

When writing up your QES please refer to the guidance in the EPOC QES template.

When writing up your QES please refer to the guidance in the EPOC QES template.


When writing up your QES please refer to the guidance in the EPOC QES template. Like the protocol there are a number of differences in the writing style and language used in a QES in comparison to other types of systematic reviews. For example, it is important to begin a finding with an overview of the contributing studies, reference all the studies that contribute to a finding and which part of the finding they contribute to. It is also important to use qualifying words such as many, few, some, when describing your findings, as we can never be sure that all people or participants feel the same way.  

Another important section of a QES is reflexivity. In this section the review authors reflect on any pre-existing judgements, perceptions, or experiences that they may have in relation to the review topic and reflect on how these may have impacted the synthesis. Guidance is provided in the EPOC template.  

Finally, a QES may need to integrate its findings with results from intervention reviews. There are several different ways of doing this. A matrix analysis, logic model or framework analysis are the most popular. For more information please see:  

  • The EPOC QES template 
  • The Cochrane Webinar “Integrating qualitative evidence syntheses with intervention effect findings” (May 2022) (https://training.cochrane.org/qes-learning-live-webinar-series) 
  • Candy, B., King, M., Jones, L. et al. Using qualitative synthesis to explore heterogeneity of complex interventions. BMC Med Res Methodol 11, 124 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2288-11-124  

For examples of a matrix analysis: 

  • Ames HM, Glenton C, Lewin S. Parents' and informal caregivers' views and experiences of communication about routine childhood vaccination: a synthesis of qualitative evidence. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2017(2). 
  • Ames HMR, Glenton C, Lewin S, Tamrat T, Akama E, Leon N. Clients’ perceptions and experiences of targeted digital communication accessible via mobile devices for reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health: a qualitative evidence synthesis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2019, Issue 10. Art. No.: CD013447. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD013447.  

For examples of a logic model: 

  • Glenton C, Colvin CJ, Carlsen B, Swartz A, Lewin S, Noyes J, Rashidian A. Barriers and facilitators to the implementation of lay health worker programmes to improve access to maternal and child health: a qualitative evidence synthesis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 10. Art. No.: CD010414. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD010414.pub2. 

For examples of a framework analysis:

  • Ames H, Mosdøl A, Blaasvær N, et al. Communication of children’s weight status: what is effective and what are the children’s and parents’ experiences and preferences? A mixed methods systematic review. BMC Public Health 20, 574 (2020). https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-020-08682-w