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This 3 hour classroom based course for Medical Sciences Division researchers will teach you how to synthesise qualitative research findings.


Do you want to understand more about how to synthesise qualitative research findings? Are you planning a qualitative evidence synthesis (QES) as part of your research/clinical practice? A broad range of evidence is needed to inform healthcare. Qualitative evidence synthesis (QES) aims to bring together qualitative research findings in order to increase understanding of a particular phenomenon. This course is accessible and relevant to qualitative and quantitative Medical Sciences Division researchers who want to learn more about synthesising qualitative research with a view to undertaking or utilising QES in their study or work.



This will be a combination of short talks and learning activities lead by Dr Fran Toye. Participants will work with each other in small groups for each activity.

In preparation for the course you will be asked to read and appraise a qualitative study using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) questions for appraising qualitative research (see below). No other preparation is required.




•             To understand the fundamentals of how to search, appraise and analyse qualitative research into a qualitative evidence synthesis.

•             To be aware of current methods for determining confidence in your QES findings


First session: 1 hour

Introduction to QES and deciding how wide to cast the search net.

How do I appraise a paper (preparation required)?


Second session: 1 hour

How do I extract qualitative data?

Assessing confidence in a QES and keeping a database.


Third session: 1 hour

How do I analyse qualitative data?

Getting your research out there



Read the study by Mackowicz and Wnek-Gozdek 2017 and Appraise the study using the CASP Qualitative checklist. These will be available via 'My Resources' when you are booked on the course.

There are no right or wrong answers for this, so please just give it a go and don’t worry. Research shows that reviewers tend to disagree about quality appraisal. It is more about the process and the discussion that this generates. If you have any queries about the course please feel free to contact me on



3 hours





COURSE LEADER: Dr Fran Toye is the qualitative research lead in the Physiotherapy Research Unit at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, OUH NHS Foundation Trust.  She has a MA in archaeology and anthropology from the University of Cambridge. She is an expert in qualitative research and QES and has published widely in this area. Fran has been funded by the National Institute for Health Research to complete two QES which explored the experience of chronic pain from the perspective of patients and their healthcare professionals. She has a particular interest in making qualitative research simple and accessible so it can be used to improve healthcare. She has also published the first ‘mega-ethnography’.