Stage 3. Categorise eligible submissions

Once out-of-scope submissions have been identified and removed, PSPs may want to allocate the remaining submissions into categories, also known as a taxonomy.  This is a helpful way to organise data in part to reveal instances of duplication.  Essentially it is a qualitative, thematic analysis of the survey data.  Developing a taxonomy (or using an existing one) can help PSPs to make their data more manageable by reducing the data into smaller, more manageable sections.

It is recommended that taxonomies from existing literature are used where possible, such as ‘topics’ used by Cochrane Systematic Review Groups or the UK Clinical Research Collaboration Health Research Classification System

Some categories of treatment which may not be found in existing taxonomies, including diet, vitamins, complementary therapies and lifestyle, may need to be adapted and added to as the data is entered.  It may be useful to consider stage of illness or age at diagnosis as additional methods of data organisation.

This categorisation process may identify further ineligible submissions, for example, topics better suited to social research, which can also be removed.  As above, the person/people managing this stage of the process should keep a record of these and refer them back to the Steering Group.