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Table 1 Guidance on writing and structuring a summary of a review finding for a CERQual Evidence Profile and Summary of Qualitative Findings (SoQF) table

From: Applying GRADE-CERQual to qualitative evidence synthesis findings—paper 2: how to make an overall CERQual assessment of confidence and create a Summary of Qualitative Findings table

How much detail should a summary of a review finding include?

 • You should make the summary as explicit as possible: for example, a hypothesized connection or pathway between factors should not be implied but should be described clearly

 • The level of detail that you include in a summary of a review finding will vary according to the nature of the finding and the style agreed by the review team:

  o Providing detailed contextual information in a summary of a review finding (e.g., ‘In three studies from Japan, the UK and Ghana, young women reported that…’) may give the impression that the finding does not represent a broader phenomenon and is not transferable (see [8] and Table 3). It may be more appropriate to include this descriptive information in the column of the SoQF table that lists the studies contributing to the review finding

  o You should only include geographic or other specifiers in a summary of a review finding if these form part of the explanation of the finding; are needed to understand the finding or the group or context to which the finding relates (for example, ‘Health care providers reported that…’ or ‘Young men from rural areas experienced….’); or are critical to addressing the review question [8].

 • Where a review is commissioned in support of a guideline, you may want to write the SoQF table to take into account the information needed to make a recommendation. For example, the summaries of review findings included in the SoQF table may focus on issues related to the acceptability and feasibility of the interventions being considered in the guideline and any important implementation considerations [25]

How should the summaries of review findings be ordered and presented?

 • You can use titles and subheadings in the SoQF table to flag larger groupings of review findings

 • You can use a broader introductory or summary sentence, or a one line header, at the start of a summary of a review finding to help users quickly understand the gist of the finding