Assessing the methodological strengths and limitations of qualitative evidence: what are the key criteria?

Tags: Workshop
Glenton C1, Lewin S2, Booth A3, Noyes J3
1Cochrane Norway, 2EPOC, Norwegian Institute of Public Health and South African MRC, 3Cochrane Qualitative and Implementation Methods Group


Qualitative evidence syntheses are increasingly used in decision making along with reviews of effectiveness. The GRADE-CERQual (Confidence in the Evidence from Reviews of Qualitative research) approach aims to assess how much confidence to place in evidence from reviews of qualitative research. Assessing the methodological limitations of individual studies contributing to a review finding is one of four components of CERQual. There is no agreement, however, on how best to assess such limitations. To address this issue, the GRADE-CERQual group has identified the criteria that are most common across existing tools, and is currently developing a tool to assess methodological strengths and limitations of qualitative evidence for use in decision making.


The objective of this session is to discuss a draft list of key criteria to consider when assessing methodological strengths and limitations of qualitative evidence.


The session will be presented and facilitated by members of the GRADE-CERQual co-ordinating team. The session is intended for review authors, methodologists and end users. Attendees should be experienced in qualitative research methods. The session will cover the following:

1) overview of the systematic mapping and content analysis of existing checklists;

2) presentation of the top 22 common criteria;

3) small group discussion to rank and discuss empirical evidence for criteria;

4) feedback.