Using qualitative evidence in decision making for health and social interventions: An approach from qualitative evidence syntheses (GRADE-CERQual)
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Qualitative evidence syntheses are increasingly used, but methods to assess how much confidence to place in synthesis findings are poorly developed. The Confidence in the Evidence from Reviews of Qualitative research (CERQual) approach helps assess how much confidence to place in findings from a qualitative evidence synthesis.
CERQual’s assessment of confidence for individual review findings from qualitative evidence syntheses is based on four components: the methodological limitations of the qualitative studies contributing to a review finding, the relevance to the review question of the studies contributing to a review finding, the coherence of the review finding, and the adequacy of data supporting a review finding.
CERQual provides a transparent method for assessing confidence in qualitative evidence syntheses findings. Like the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) approach for evidence of effectiveness, CERQual may facilitate the use of qualitative evidence to inform decisions and shape policies.
The CERQual approach is being developed by a subgroup of the GRADE Working Group.