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Box 20.4.a: The Cochrane Qualitative Research Methods Group

The Cochrane Qualitative Research Methods Group (QRMG) develops and supports methodological work on the inclusion in systematic reviews of evidence from research using qualitative methods and disseminates this work within and beyond the Collaboration's CRGs.


The QRMG is attempting to fulfil its role by:

  • identifying appropriate roles for evidence from qualitative research within the context of Cochrane Systematic Reviews;

  • collating, developing and disseminating appropriate methodological standards for:

  • Searching for qualitative research relevant to Cochrane reviews;

  • Critically appraising qualitative studies;

  • Combining evidence from qualitative research with other data within the context of a systematic review; and

  • Dissemination of these methodological standards through various routes including contributing to the guidance for authors in the Handbook;

  • providing a forum for discussion and debate about the role of qualitative evidence within the systematic review process and the development of rigorous and systematic methods to promote this role to:

  • encourage transparency of, and learning about, method developments; and

  • encourage and facilitate liaison and sharing with other methods groups;

  • providing links for Cochrane Review Groups to people with expertise and experience of qualitative research to:

  • provide advice and support for people aiming to incorporate qualitative research into a review; and

  • provide a mechanism for evaluating and developing review protocols;

  • providing training for members of Cochrane and Campbell Review Groups;

  • maintaining a register/database of relevant methodological papers;

  • maintaining a register/database of systematic review protocols that include qualitative evidence synthesis or are solely focused on the systematic review of qualitative evidence;

  • maintaining a register/database of completed systematic reviews that include qualitative evidence synthesis; and of reviews that are solely focused on the systematic review of qualitative evidence; and

  • surveying members on an annual basis to identify developing interests and ongoing contributions.


Members of the Group have contributed to the guidance on the commissioning and conduct of systematic reviews produced by the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination at the University of York and have supported the development of guidance produced by the Cochrane Health Promotion and Public Health Field.


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