Table 2

Summary of the quality assessment of qualitative studies

Reference numbera
Research question1920211222324252627292830313212333435
Did the article describe an important clinical problem examined via a clearly formulated question?±++++++++±±++±+±±++
Was the qualitative approach appropriate?+++++++++±+++++++++
Sampling method
Was the sampling strategy clearly defined?±±+±+±±±±±+++++
Was the sampling strategy and size justified?±±±+±±±++±+±
Was the sampling strategy appropriate?+±?+++±±++±+?±+
Is it clear why some participants chose not to take part?±±±NANA+
Have the characteristics of included subjects been clearly defined?±±+±+++±+++±
Data collection
Was the setting justified?±+±+?±+±++++++++±++
Were the methods used for collecting data described in enough detail?±+±+±+±+++++±±
Were the data collection methods reliable and verifiable?±+±+±+?+±+±++++++
Were observations taken in a range of circumstances (for example, at different times)?NA?NA±+NANA?+NANA
Relationship between researcher and participants
Was the researcher's perspective/role described?+±+++±+
Was the researcher's perspective/role likely to lead to potential bias or influence??????±?±?±±±???±
Do the researchers state how the research was explained to the participants?+±+±+++?±
Data analysis
Is it clear how the categories/themes were derived from the data?+±+±++++±+±±±+±
Were steps taken to test the credibility of the findings?±+±±±+?±+
Were all the data taken into account in the analysis?++???????++??????
Were negative or discrepant results fully addressed, or just ignored???????±????????+?±
Do the results address the research question?++++±+±±++±±±+++±+±
Is sufficient data presented to support the findings?±+++±±±++±+±±
Do the researchers explain how the data presented in the paper were selected from the original sample?±+++
Is it possible to determine the sources of data presented?++++++±++++
Are the conclusions justified by the results?±±±+±?±±+±±±++±±+±±
Have alternative explanations for the results been explored and discounted?±±±±±±
Were the limitations of the study discussed?+±+±±±++
Are the findings of the study transferable to other clinical settings???±???±?±??+
  • + item properly addressed; ± item partially addressed; – item not properly addressed; ? Unclear/can't tell/not stated; NA Not applicable.