Methods development

Since 2004, the GRADE working group have published over 70 publications on the GRADE methodology. GRADE project groups form to advance GRADE methods in specific areas. Recent developments have included the evidence to decision frameworks, new guidance on using GRADE to assess non-randomised studies, and the development of GRADE methods for assessing qualitative research.

Our research

Members of our team at the Melbourne GRADE centre are leading research to inform GRADE methods for overviews of systematic reviews. The synthesis of evidence from existing systematic reviews brings some unique challenges for authors of overviews and guidelines.

Our current research involves three components.

1. Understanding current approaches and options for assessing certainty in overviews. This involves two ongoing pieces of work.

  • A systematic review of current practice to establish how overview authors are assessing certainty of the evidence from existing reviews, and
  • Interviews with methodological experts to explore their experiences, approaches and considerations for assessing certainty of evidence in overviews.

2. Identifying and critiquing methods for assessing certainty of evidence in overviews

We held a full-day working meeting in 2017 at the Global Evidence Summit, Cape Town to capture methodologists’ perspectives on the approaches and options identified to-date and to develop some initial principles for assessing certainty of the evidence in an overview. The meeting brought together researchers internationally recognised for their methodological contributions to overviews, GRADE and guidelines.

3. Providing guidance on assessing certainty of evidence in overviews

This work aims to bring together findings from the first two parts of the project, and further consultation with GRADE and overview methodologists, to provide guidance for overview authors.

Source of funding

The project is funded by a Monash University Strategic Grant

Investigator team

Joanne McKenzie, Methods in Evidence Synthesis Unit, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University (lead investigator Monash project; GRADE project group co-lead)

Sue Brennan, Cochrane Australia, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University (investigator; co-lead Monash project)

Elie Akl, Centre for Systematic Reviews on Health Policy and Systems Research, American University of Beirut (investigator; GRADE working group liaison)

Sally Green, Cochrane Australia, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University (investigator)

Philippa Middleton, Principal Research Fellow, Pregnancy and Perinatal Care, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (investigator)

Alex Todhunter-Brown, Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health, Glasgow Caledonian University (investigator; GRADE project group co-lead)


Jane Reid, Research Officer, Monash University

Carole Lunny, Monash University

Contact us

We welcome enquiries about any aspect of our work, including our workshops, methodological support, and opportunities to contribute to the GRADE working group.

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