Evidence Synthesis Ireland

ESI SWAR Award Scheme

Studies Within A Review

There remain uncertainties on many methodological aspects of how we plan, do and share evidence syntheses. Designing studies that evaluate evidence synthesis methodology is necessary to ensure that evidence synthesis is efficient and sustainable. Our ‘Studies Within A Review’ (SWAR) programme of research is an exciting way to evaluate alternative options when conducting a review process (e.g. study selection, data extraction, reporting the findings) to provide much-needed evidence about how these steps in the review processes can be improved. This has the potential to reduce research waste and improve the usefulness of systematic reviews.

This call is closed. We anticipate a new call to open in June 2024.

What is a SWAR?

A SWAR is a research study that can help provide evidence to inform decisions about how we plan, do and share the findings of future reviews. It addresses methodological uncertainty and is usually embedded within a systematic review or other evidence synthesis to evaluate the effectiveness of alternative ways of delivering or organising a particular review process.

The processes by which reviews are planned, conducted, analysed and reported are informed by up-to-date research evidence rather than by convention. This maximises the likelihood that review processes are efficient, thereby minimising waste of time and other resources. Researchers should aim for comparable rigour to that with which reviews seek to answer questions about health and social care when seeking to inform decisions on how we ‘do’ reviews.

  • Selects from diverse study designs appropriate to the methodological uncertainty the SWAR is trying to answer.
  • Either is embedded within a single review or across multiple reviews to make any necessary comparison.
  • Should not compromise the objective, methods, integrity, outcome, and dissemination of the host review or reviews.
  • Is accompanied by its own discrete protocol
  • Informs the method, design, and implementation of future systematic reviews and evidence synthesis.

Evidence Synthesis Ireland SWAR Award Scheme

This funding scheme aims to support research teams to conduct a SWAR. Up to €6250 (inclusive of 25% overheads) is available per award.

Who should apply?

  • Lead applicants can be located in any Higher Education Institute in the world, but must include a co-applicant who is currently resident in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland 
  • Host reviews can be located anywhere in the world.
  • Members of ESI’s staff or Executive Management Committee are ineligible to be lead, co-applicants or collaborators.