Skip to main content

Table 2 Summary of aims, methods, and results of three case studies of searching for and synthesising grey literature and grey information

From: Searching and synthesising ‘grey literature’ and ‘grey information’ in public health: critical reflections on three case studies

  Review 1, 2006 [17] Review 2, 2011 [20] Review 3, 2016 (Hillier-Brown F, Summerbell C, Moore H, Wrieden W, Abraham C, Adams J, Adamson A, Araujo-Soares V, White M, Lake A. A description of interventions promoting healthier ready-to-eat meals (to eat in, to take away, or to be delivered) sold by specific food outlets in England: a systematic mapping and evidence synthesis. BMC public health 2015, unpublished)
Aims ‘To answer the question: what are the health, social and financial impacts of welfare rights advice delivered in healthcare settings?’ ‘Identify the range of existing adult cooking skills interventions that are presently implemented in England which meet key criteria…Make a judgement on the suitability of each identified intervention for rigorous outcome evaluation.’ ‘To systematically identify interventions to promote healthier ready-to-eat meals sold by specific food outlets in England. To describe the type of interventions, and summarise information on their content and delivery. To summarise information from [any] evaluations.’
Inclusion criteria Evaluations of welfare right advice in a healthcare setting in terms of health, social, or financial outcomes.
No exclusions based on:
 Outcomes
 Study design
 Study population
 Place of publication
 Language of publication
Interventions that meet all the criteria:
 Aim to develop basic kitchen and cooking skills
 Target adults aged 16 years or over
 Target non-professional cooks
 Use a written curriculum
 Involve interaction between tutor and participant
 Involve more than one session
 Run on a not-for-profit basis
Interventions that meet all the criteria:
 In specific food outlets
 Openly accessible to the general public
 Selling ready-to-eat meals and beverages as their main business for profit No exclusions based on: place of publication/reporting of information
 Methodological quality
Search methods Searches of:
 Databases of peer-reviewed and grey literature relevant journals an internet search engine relevant funder and third sector websites References and citations of included studies publications of authors of included studies targeted requests sent via email to those with publications in the field
General requests:  Sent to relevant email distributions lists posted on online bulletin boards published in ‘trade press’
Searches of:
 An internet search engine
 Relevant funder and third sector websites
Targeted requests sent via email to:
 All Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) in England
 All local authorities (LA) in England
 All regional obesity leads in England
 Regional voluntary sector network organisations
Searches of:
 Databases of peer-reviewed and grey literature research and trial databases an internet search engine relevant funder and third sector websites media database
Targeted requests sent via email to:
 All local authorities in England
 Those with publications in the field
General requests:
 Sent to relevant professionals orgs via Twitter
 Sent to relevant email distributions lists
 Posted on online bulletin boards
 Published in ‘trade press’
Type of literature and information included Peer-reviewed literature
Grey literature
Grey literature
Grey information
Peer-reviewed literature
Grey literature
Grey information
Synthesis method Narrative, with quantitative synthesis of mean financial benefit per client Narrative, with ‘theory mapping’ of interventions to identify the key behaviour change theories used Narrative synthesis
Studies/interventions included (n) 55 14 102 (30 of which included an evaluation)
Conclusions ‘Welfare rights advice services can go some way to resolving under claiming. However, there is currently little evidence of adequate robustness and quality to indicate that such services lead to health improvements.’ ‘We recommend that an outcome evaluation, involving a randomised controlled trial (RCT), a process, and an economic evaluation, is conducted…preceded by feasibility work.’
Jamie’s Ministry of Food is the only single intervention identified that could fulfil the sample size requirements. However…this intervention may not make best use of behaviour change theory. A number of smaller interventions make good use of theory [but] would [not] fulfil the sample size requirements.’
‘We recommend either or both of: Jamie’s Ministry of Food is approached to discuss their willingness to develop their programme, with a view to taking part in an RCT. Or, a number of existing local interventions, which make good use of theory, are approached to discuss if their programmes could be harmonised, with a view to taking part in an RCT.’
‘The best available evidence suggests that food outlet proprietors are generally positive about implementing these interventions, particularly when they are cost neutral and use a ‘health-by-stealth’ approach. Little robust evidence is available on the effectiveness of these approaches and further research is needed to generate this evidence. Opportunities for working upstream with suppliers, and in co-participation with consumers, when developing interventions should be explored.’