Background: The TRANSFER Framework aims to support systematic review authors in systematically and transparently considering and assessing the transferability of systematic review findings throughout the systematic-review process. The secondary aim of the tool is to engage decision makers and topical experts early in the systematic-review process to ensure the review question is precise and useful, and to help identify factors that may influence the transferability of the review findings.
Objectives: We wanted to apply the TRANSFER framework to a commissioned systematic review on the effect of Supported Employment, an employment intervention for unemployed people with various disabilities. Our goal was to be able to assist our commissioners in assessing the transferability of findings in our review of international studies to a Norwegian context.
Methods: We used the TRANSFER framework that consists of 3 parts: (1) guidance for systematic review authors on how to engage with end users in order to identify factors that could affect transferability; (2) a supplementary form to assist review authors in determining what information needs to be extracted from primary studies; and, (3) methods for systematically assessing and transparently reporting assessments of the transferability of review findings.
Results: In collaboration with commissioners, we identified 2 factors that could affect the transferability of the review findings (political/social context and control interventions). We extracted data, conducted analyses and presented our findings and considerations in the report according to the TRANSFER framework. The findings suggested that we had no concerns regarding the transferability to the local context.
Conclusions: The TRANSFER framework assisted in the systematic review process with regard to identifying relevant factors concerning transferability of results, extracting appropriate data and presenting our findings and appraisals in order to guide the commissioners' understanding of transferability of the review findings.