BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Appraising qualitative research for inclusion in systematic reviews: a quantitative and qualitative comparison of three methods

    Dixon-Woods, M. and Sutton, A. and Shaw, R. and Miller, T. and Smith, Jonathan A. and Young, B. and Bonas, S. and Booth, A. and Jones, D. (2007) Appraising qualitative research for inclusion in systematic reviews: a quantitative and qualitative comparison of three methods. Journal of Health Services Research and Policy 12 (1), pp. 42-47. ISSN 1355-8196.

    Full text not available from this repository.


    Objective: Qualitative research is increasingly valued as part of the evidence for policy and practice, but how it should be appraised is contested. Various appraisal methods, including checklists and other structured approaches, have been proposed but rarely evaluated. We aimed to compare three methods for appraising qualitative research papers that were candidates for inclusion in a systematic review of evidence on support for breast-feeding. Method: A sample of 12 research papers on support for breast-feeding was appraised by six qualitative reviewers using three appraisal methods: unprompted judgement, based on expert opinion; a UK Cabinet Office quality framework; and CASP, a Critical Appraisal Skills Programme tool. Papers were assigned, following appraisals, to 1 of 5 categories, which were dichotomized to indicate whether or not papers should be included in a systematic review. Patterns of agreement in categorization of papers were assessed quantitatively using κ statistics, and qualitatively using cross-case analysis. Results: Agreement in categorizing papers across the three methods was slight (κ =0.13; 95% CI 0.06–0.24). Structured approaches did not appear to yield higher agreement than that by unprompted judgement. Qualitative analysis revealed reviewers' dilemmas in deciding between the potential impact of findings and the quality of the research execution or reporting practice. Structured instruments appeared to make reviewers more explicit about the reasons for their judgements. Conclusions: Structured approaches may not produce greater consistency of judgements about whether to include qualitative papers in a systematic review. Future research should address how appraisals of qualitative research should be incorporated in systematic reviews.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2020 14:04
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:58


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item