Systematic reviews

Synthesizing the results

As you are synthesizing your results, you may be doing so qualitatively, quantitatively, or using a mix of both approaches. There are various techniques that you can use for a narrative synthesis, along with software that can help with qualitative or quantitative synthesis. 

Narrative synthesis techniques
Technique Description Advantage Limitation
Text description Organizes a summary of the same characteristics with consistent annotation of studies Keeps details of each study together Challenging to see themes
Tabulation Creates a table of study elements and findings Compares characteristics Does not synthesize
Categorization Groups/clusters studies around particular characteristic(s) Allows visualization of patterns May limit ability to see concepts across all studies
Thematic analysis Identifies themes using a rubric to analyze content Consistent Takes time to develop a rubric
Relationship descriptions

Identifies relationships between primary study findings and characteristics of the study

Determines differences between and within studies

Allows possibility of sub analysis May be challenging with a large number of studies

Adapted from:

Presenting results statistically

Software for qualitative synthesis
Software Cost?
QARI (Joanna Briggs Institute) No
Qualitative Data Analysis Program (QDAP)  No
QDA Miner Light No
ATLAS.ti Yes
EPPI-Reviewer Yes
Nvivo* Yes
Software for quantitative studies
Software Cost? 
SAS* Yes
Stata Yes
R* No
ArcGIS* No (through uOttawa)
GeoSuite* Yes
Beyond 20/20* No
Geomatica* Yes
GooglePro Earth* No
SimStat* Yes
Python* No
Colectica for Excel* Yes
Colectica Reader * No
Software for meta-analysis
Software Cost?
OpenMeta[Analyst] No
Mix 2.0 Free lite version available
Comprehensive Meta-Analysis (CMA) Yes

Note: All software indicated with (*) are available for free at the library. Please see full list here


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