Evidence Synthesis Ireland

Webinar Recordings

Prof. Declan Devane, Prof. James Thomas & Dr K. M. Saif-Ur-Rahman – Strengthening evidence synthesis methods through Studies Within a Review (SWAR)

The purpose of the webinar was to provide an overview of Studies Within a Review (SWAR), highlighting their significance in improving systematic review methodologies. It aimed to educate participants on what SWARs are, share practical insights and real-world examples of their benefits, and introduce a new funding scheme to support research in this area. It covered the following areas:

Introduction to SWARs and their importance

  • Defined what SWARs (Studies Within a Review) are.
  • Explained the concept and historical background of SWARs.
  • Highlighted the importance of SWARs in improving the methodology of systematic reviews.
  • Provided a brief overview of the key features and objectives of SWARs.
  • Highlighted the benefits of conducting SWARs, such as improving review processes and generating high-quality evidence.

Conducting SWARs: Methodologies and examples

  • Discussed various methodologies used in conducting SWARs, including randomised and nonrandomised comparisons, mixed-methods, and qualitative study types.
  • Provided examples of previous SWARs
  • Explained how SWARs can be embedded within single or multiple systematic reviews to address specific methodological uncertainties.

New funding scheme for SWARs and future directions

  • Introduced the new funding scheme available for SWARs and explain its significance.
  • Detailed the application process, eligibility criteria, and how researchers can apply for funding.
  • Mentioned the potential impact of this funding on the field of systematic reviews and evidence synthesis.
  • Changes from previous funding regarding SWAR PIs


Prof. Declan Devane, Director, Evidence Synthesis Ireland & Cochrane Ireland, University of Galway

Prof. James Thomas, Professor of Social Research and Policy, University College London

Dr K. M. Saif-Ur-Rahman, Senior Methodologist, Evidence Synthesis Ireland, University of Galway