Cochrane Collaboration edition:22 location:Hyderabad, India date:22-26 September 2014
Analyses and syntheses of qualitative research often make use of theory. A “theory” is a coherent and systematic description of a set of issues, communicated as a meaningful whole. In synthesis, theory can be used in a number of ways such as: framing a research question; as a lens through which to view the findings; or as a way to propose explanations for the findings.
But what does this mean in practice? And how could I use this approach in my reviews?
This discussion forum will:
• Introduce the reasoning for the use of theory in reviews, and explore strengths and weaknesses.
• Link with findings from the Methods Innovation Fund MICCI project, during which examples of when and how theory was used in systematic reviews were collated.
• Illustrate and compare different approaches undertaken by the forum facilitators, both in Cochrane Public Health Reviews and non-Cochrane reviews, to use theory in order to try and understand how activities and programme may have an effect and what the impact of different pathways might be.
• Facilitate group work in which participants will work to derive and present explanations for their own research topics on which to base their review. Don’t worry if you don’t have a live topic, we can supply examples.