There will be three virtual workshops run in parallel on the afternoon of Tuesday 8th September 2020. An overview of these sessions is available below.

Please register your interest via the below 'register now' button. 


Workshop 1

"Promises and pitfalls for secondary data analysis and synthesis of qualitative research"

Hosted by Dr Conny Guell, Dr Emily Haynes, Prof Judith Green (University of Exeter) and Mike Kelly (University of Cambridge)



There is an increasing drive towards making better use of existing data rather than producing new research – doing more thinking rather than more research (Greenhalgh, 2012) – but this is particularly challenging and problematic for qualitative data. To date, synthesis of qualitative research has been largely limited to evidence syntheses of research outputs. Techniques for this are growing and producing new conceptual insights beyond their original studies. Yet quality of qualitative systematic reviews is varied, and their value and methods still contested, in particularly highlighting the need for careful consideration of the context in which data have been collected, analysed and framed. At the same time, recent secondary data analysis calls have initiated the first sets of qualitative data pools. In response, researchers have started to tailor and apply evidence synthesis methods to (primary) data analysis, for example making use of machine learning and text analytics software initially used for easing systematic reviewing and abstracting processes. Much of this work is highly exploratory, critical and thoughtful and it is essential that we share our learning within our fields to develop rigorous, reflective and effective approaches (Ruggiano, 2019). To do so, in this workshop, we like to invite fellow researchers to take stock with us of the current state of the field and discuss established and novel approaches, their value and limitations. This workshop would appeal to those interested in evidence synthesis more broadly, but also to those interested in enhancing the transferability and impact of qualitative data.

Aims and Learning Objectives This workshop aims to bring together people interested in the field of qualitative evidence synthesis and contemporary approaches to synthesising qualitative data as well as those using machine learning, text analytics or network software. We aim to provide an opportunity for in-depth discussion, and for participants to draw on the experience of others, to enhance our knowledge of the topic. By sharing our experiences in a discursive format, our main learning objectives are to:
1. Advance our knowledge of the current state of practice in this developing area.
2. Develop a case of ‘pitfalls’ and ‘promises’ to secondary qualitative data analysis, which could be summarised in a joint publication.
3. Develop a network of individuals with interest in this topic area for future research opportunities.

Workshop 2

Policy Evaluation: a comprehensive European approach by the JPI HDHL Network PEN

Hosted by Dr JM Harrington (University College Cork), Professor C Woods (University of Limerick), Dr C Murrin (University College Dublin), Dr A Hebestreit (Leibniz Institutefor Prevention Research and Epidemiology) and Dr M Poelman (Wageningen University and Research)



As part of the Joint Programming Initiative “A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life” (JPI HDHL), 28 research institutes from seven European countries and New Zealand have combined their expertise to form the Policy Evaluation Network (PEN) to advance tools to identify, evaluate, implement and benchmark policies designed to directly or indirectly target dietary behaviours, physical activity, and sedentary behaviour in Europe, as well as to understand how these policies increase or decrease health inequalities. The challenges of addressing obesity require system-level solutions directed by national and international policies. Successful policy actions to address health behavior, create supportive contexts in which programmes, infrastructure and environments collectively can reduce these behaviours that lead to overweight and obesity. Identifying effective policy actions is problematic where there is limited or no evidence to demonstrate whether the policies have produced any changes. The European Union is committed to the principle of “evaluation first” which endeavours to build a culture that ensures policy decisions and changes are based on the best available evidence. EU policies need to be regularly and systemically evaluated however, as yet, there is limited knowledge on how to systematically evaluate policies that promote or attempt to reduce obesity.

Aims and Learning Objectives: To showcase the learnings from the Policy Evaluation Network (PEN) to advance our understanding of the potential for policy to impact on PA, healthy nutrition and sedentary behaviour.
The PEN workshop will highlight actions, focusing on public policy in food and physical activity sectors and more specifically outputs of the Food Environment Policy Index (Food EPI) audits in five European countries and at the European level. Food-EPI offers a systematic approach to providing benchmarks of best practice policy exemplars to address obesity. We will discuss the challenges of evaluating food, nutrition and physical activity policies, and the limitations and challenges of benchmarking European policies against international best practice.  A further step in developing a systematic approach to policy evaluation across Europe is to develop an agreed set of indicators of the implementation, impact and outcomes of policies and determinants of health behaviours. One of the objectives of PEN is to create an open-access catalogue of agreed indicators that can be incorporated into the design and evaluation of new and existing policies. The symposium will offer an opportunity for researchers and stakeholders to learn more about this catalogue, the indicators and how they could be applied and integrated into their activities

Workshop 3

Accessing and using health data from the UK Data Service

Hosted by Dr V Higgins and Dr Deborah Wiltshire

UK Data Service



The workshop will appeal to early career researchers or those new to accessing health survey and longitudinal data from the UK Data Service.

Aims and Learning Objectives: This training session will provide an in-depth look into accessing data from the UK Data Service. The UKDS provides a range of data for social research, including repeated cross-sectional and longitudinal data as well as tablular health data. Case studies will be shared to showcase excellent data use. An overview of the teaching, learning and research resources will be demonstrated.

Structure:  It will include the following

- An overview of health data available from the UKDS

                                                                                                                                           - An overview of the new COVID-19 datasets

- How to find and access data for your topic

- Examples of use of the health data

- Overview of the teaching, learning and research resources available.

There will be an opportunity for attendees to explore the website to search for data relevant to a topic of their choosing and to discuss the process for data access. 

Facilitators: Dr Vanessa Higgins - Director of Training for the UK Data Service. Vanessa is a specialist in cross-sectional survey data and has used UKDS health data in her PhD and other research projects.
Dr Deborah Wiltshire,  UK Data Service. Deborah is a specialist in longitudinal data who has used studies such as Understanding Society in her research on divorce, education and fertility trends.