2021 Cochrane Methods Symposium: Evidence synthesis in public health and complex interventions

12 Oct to 11 Nov 2021, 09:00-14:00

The Cochrane Methods team has defined a programme of work to improve the quality and impact of Cochrane reviews in public health with the support of the Methods Executive, Methods Groups and Public Health and Health Systems Network. The programme has been designed to foster collaboration between Methods Groups and Cochrane Review Group (CRG) Networks and to support the ongoing response to COVID-19. It focuses on producing high-priority public health reviews and delivering user-friendly resources to improve the planning, conduct and reporting of methods within them.

What has happened so far?
The Cochrane Methods team mapped the most frequently cited challenges from two recent methods surveys of CRGs by methodological area and listed possible projects to address them. The projects were then shortlisted considering extent of author and CRG need, potential for impact, and the anticipated time and resources required to deliver a useful output. The projects have been refined with Cochrane’s Methods Executive and project teams are now being brought together. Each has been designed to deliver a practical tool or decision aid for editors or authors by the end of 2021 that harnesses existing theory so that it can be more easily applied. 

Further details are given here.

Project 1: Preferred and accepted risk of bias tools for assessing bias in non-randomised studies of interventions

Project 2: Practical guidance to frame public health intervention review questions, define outcomes and choose appropriate study designs

Project 3: Standard terminology to help authors describe different study designs appropriately and consistently

Project 4: Practical conduct and reporting guidance for assessing risk of bias in non-randomised studies of interventions and/or ROBINS-I

Project 5: Practical tools to implement SWiM reporting guidance to improve pre-specification and presentation of findings

In addition to the projects, plans are underway to deliver a suite of learning resources around qualitative evidence synthesis, and to house a bank of exemplar reviews showcasing best practice. A Methods Symposium will also take place in October 2021 covering a range of methodological challenges relating to public health reviews and complex interventions. The symposium will be followed by a methods implementation surgery led by the Methods Support Unit and aimed at CRGs in November 2021 to discuss the outputs that were developed and how they can support editors and authors.

Further symposium details are available here: https://methods.cochrane.org/2021-cochrane-methods-symposium