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This theme focuses on the methodology and reporting of trials and the synthesis of evidence for health and social care policy and practice.


The HRB-Trials Methodology Research Network (HRB- TMRN) is a collaborative initiative between NUI Galway and a number of Irish and international higher education institutes and methodology centres. The HRB-TMRN is led by Professor Declan Devane at the School of Nursing and Midwifery.

The network was founded in 2014 with a mission to strengthen the methodology and reporting of trials in health and social care in Ireland so that they become more relevant, accessible and influential for patients and other service users, practitioners, policy makers and the public.

This is achieved through a programme of work relating to the methodology of trials and focussed on support, training and education, as well as research and innovation.


QUESTS, Qualitative Research in Trials Centre, was established by the School of Nursing and Midwifery in 2015. The mission of QUESTS is to maximise the value of qualitative research in trials by providing support for undertaking qualitative research with trials, training and education on the use of qualitative research in trials and Primary Methodology Research on the use of qualitative research and trials.  The School of Nursing and Midwifery has substantial expertise in qualitative research methodologies. Staff in the School have led and received PhD training in phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnography, case study and mixed methods.

Evidence Synthesis

Health care decisions should be based on a synthesis of the global body of evidence rather than relying on the convenient selection of one or more discrete studies. Evidence synthesis methods seek to establish the overall balance of information on a given topic, and are based on identifying, assessing and examining all the available evidence on a given topic to inform health care decisions.

Evidence Synthesis Ireland (ESI) is a new, all-Ireland initiative funded by the Health Research Board (HRB) and the Health and Social Care, Research and Development (HSC R&D) Division of the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland. Its vision is to make evidence syntheses more usable in every sense of the word – better designed, conducted and reported, more useable for decision makers and more usable within health care policy and clinical practice decision making across the Island of Ireland and beyond. The primary aim of ESI is to build evidence synthesis knowledge, awareness and capacity among the public, health care institutions and policymakers, clinicians and researchers on the Island of Ireland. The secondary aim is to generate knowledge on methodological efficiencies in evidence syntheses.

ESI includes Cochrane Ireland, whose mission is to promote evidence-informed health decision-making by producing high-quality, relevant, accessible systematic reviews and other synthesized research evidence. The School of Nursing and Midwifery has substantial expertise in evidence synthesis as demonstrated by our portfolio of evidence synthesis activities including Cochrane systematic reviews, qualitative synthesis and other synthesis to support the development of clinical practice guideline.

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