The Evidence Synthesis & Modelling for Health Improvement
(ESMI) group is pleased to welcome Tony Ades, Professor of Public Health Science at Bristol Medical School, to Exeter to present a seminar on May 30, 2018.
This event will be live streamed to the John Bull Building room MR8. No RSVP is required.
These continue the guest external
lecture series hosted by the Evidence Synthesis & Modelling for Health
Improvement (ESMI) research group from
world-leading academics and up-and-coming talent in the world of evidence
synthesis and modelling for applied health research. The lectures aim to
share learning and foster debate about new ideas and methods developments in
evidence synthesis and modelling, and build collaborative connections to
leading researchers and research groups in the UK and internationally.
Methodology Guidance: where are the methods?
Wednesday 30th May, 2018, 1200-1330
John Bull Building MR8
There is an increasing stream of published “methodology guidance” covering the conduct and reporting of almost every kind of observational study, randomised trial, systematic review and meta-analysis. In some cases, journals require that this guidance is followed as a condition for publication. But what are the methods that generate this guidance?
Using Network Meta-analysis (NMA) as an example, we look at guidance issued by GRADE (Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation) and PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis). We find that, in common with the majority of “methodology guidance”, the GRADE and PRISMA extensions for Network Meta-analysis are based on no more than opinion,
and issued without any explicit empirical or theoretical underpinning. We identify aspects of GRADE-NMA and PRISMA-NMA that are incorrect or even incoherent, and illustrate alternatives.
The current approach to methodology guidance is leading to ossification and hegemonism, and feeds a “post-truth” agenda in which the investigator’s priority is conformity with guidelines rather than a search for scientific truth. We distinguish between prescriptive and descriptive methodology guidance, and suggest that a debate is needed on what form methodology guidance should take.
Tony is a Professor of Public Health Science at Bristol Medical School. Trained as a psychologist, influenced by structural linguistics, he eventually became an epidemiologist and statistician interested in fitting things together.