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Table 3 Assessment Criteria and Scores for Clarity and Quality of Research Methodsa

From: Connecting knowledge with action for health equity: a critical interpretive synthesis of promising practices

PromptsAbsent, unidentifiable (Score = 0)Not Clear or Vague, partial (Score = 1)Clear, well described (Score = 2)
(AO) Are the aims and objectives of the research clearly stated?No clear statement of aims and objectives.Aims and objectives implied, but difficult to discern.Aims and objectives explicitly stated and easily identifiable.
(DES) Is the research design clearly specified and appropriate for the aims and objectives of the research?Study design does not align with aims and objectives.
and/or
Little to no description of methodological approach provided.
Study design somewhat aligned with aims and objectives.
and/or
Some description of methodology provided, but with gaps or use of generic language used to describe methodology (e.g., ‘qualitative’).
Study design aligns with aims and objectives.
and
Methodological approach and theoretical foundation clearly described.
(MET) Do the researchers provide a clear account of the process by which their findings were produced?No clear description of study process of data generation, making it impossible to replicate study.Data generation and analytical processes vaguely described— would be difficult to replicate study.Methods and analytical process clearly described, consistent with methodological approach and theoretical foundation— would be possible to replicate study.
(D) Do the researchers display enough data to support their interpretations and conclusions?Insufficient data presented to support authors’ claims.Difficult to discern if data is sufficient to support authors’ claims.Data presented is compelling and clearly supports authors’ claims.
(AN) Is the method of analysis appropriate and adequately explicated?Analytical processes inadequate or absent; not clearly or coherently linked to conclusions.Analytical processes vaguely described; difficult to determine coherency with study design and findings.Analytical process well described, coherent with methodology, and logically connected to authors’ conclusions.
  1. aCriteria derived from Dixon-Woods et al. (2006)