Evidence synthesis methodology
Evidence synthesis can take many forms, from Cochrane-style systematic reviews and meta-analyses, to more flexible approaches such as mixed-methods systematic reviews, meta-ethnography, realist synthesis, reviews of reviews (meta-reviews), rapid reviews, and systematic mapping reviews. Evidence synthesis is not limited to secondary “desk-based” research but can also involve primary research with a range of stakeholders. In the field of public health, existing synthesis methodology is rapidly evolving to include methods for evaluating complex interventions, process evaluations and effects on health inequalities (for example). We have a programme of research utilising different synthesis approaches to evaluate complex issues in health promotion and health inequalities. Staff have expertise in systematic reviews, meta-analysis, mixed-methods reviews, reviews of reviews and systematic mapping reviews.