Applying sex and gender analysis to systematic reviews: development of a new knowledge translation tool

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Abstract text
Background:
The safety and effectiveness of health interventions can differ within and among populations of men and women for many reasons including issues of sex and gender. Despite growing recognition that the application of sex/gender analysis is important for discerning for whom an intervention will work and for assessing health equity, there is a lack of consistent analysis and reporting of evidence concerning sex and gender in systematic reviews as well as in primary studies, highlighting a need for guidance in moving from sex/gender theory to its application in systematic review methodology.

Objectives:
To develop an instrument to increase awareness of, and uptake of sex/gender analysis in systematic review planning, conduct, reporting, and appraisal, with the ultimate goal of improving the iterative process of research and its applicability to diverse populations.

Methods:
A two-page briefing note tool, based on empirical evidence, prior checklists and knowledge translation theory, was developed to make the case for why sex/gender are important considerations for three Cochrane Review Groups: HIV/AIDS; Musculoskeletal; and Hypertension. The tool addresses: 1) why sex/gender are important for systematic reviews in general; 2) briefing on sex/gender analysis for Cochrane authors; 3) relevance of sex/gender to the specific content area; and 4) how to consider sex/gender in each stage of a review. We finalized this tool at a consensus meeting of experts in sex/gender analysis, the review group content areas and systematic review methodology, and tested the tool with authors and editors of the three review groups.

Results:
Feedback on the tool has been positive. The results of testing this tool with Cochrane editors, authors and users, and potential ways for monitoring and evaluating the tool's impact, will be presented.

Conclusions:
Challenges of tool development and implications for advancing theoretical understandings of sex/gender in the context of systematic reviews will be summarized.
Authors
Puil L1, Doull M2, Tudiver S3, Bascoe M4, Welch V5, Runnels V5, Shea B6, O'Neill J3
1 Cochrane Hypertension Group, Canada
2 School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Canada
3 Campbell & Cochrane Equity Methods Group, Canada
4 REACH Community Health Centre, Vancouver, Canada
5 Institute of Population Health, University of Ottawa, Canada
6 CIET, University of Ottawa, Canada
Presenting author and contact person
Presenting author: 
Jennifer O'Neill
Contact person Affiliation Country
Lorri Puil (Contact this person) Cochrane Hypertension Group Canada