We judged whether a study was subject to high medium

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The risk of bias assessment tool can be found in Appendix 6. We judged whether a study was subject to high, medium or low risk of bias for each of these categories. We reread studies several times if something was unclear and maximized the use of all the available information from the studies. We
based our assessments on the reporting in individual papers, erring on the side of caution. For example, in those cases in which the selection of participants was not clear, we classified the study as being of high risk of selection bias. In all cases where the risk of bias was unclear we assumed this was an indication of a high risk of bias. We reported risk of bias assessment for each included study, conducting sensitivity analyses in the meta-analysis by each risk of bias domain. For example, we conducted meta-regressions to assess whether there were either substantive or
statistically significant differences between low, medium, and high risks of selection bias and confounding, performance bias, outcome and analysis reporting bias, and other biases. Based on these analyses, we then determined our preferred specification for the meta-analysis. An overview of risk of bias assessment of included effectiveness studies by risk of bias category and by category of bias can be found in Appendix 7 and Appendix 8. Review objective 2: qualitative studies We assessed the quality of included studies using the 9-item Critical Appraisal Skills Programme Qualitative Research Checklist (CASP, 2013), making judgments on the adequacy of stated aims, the data collection methods, the analysis, the ethical considerations and the conclusions drawn. The full checklist can be found in Appendix 5. For each item, 2 researchers determined whether the study had adequately met the item or not and gave “yes,” no,” or “can’t tell” responses. If researchers disagreed, they discussed the item until they reached consensus. Studies that had 0-2 “no” or “can’t tell” responses were considered low risk of bias, studies that had 3-5 “no” or “can’t tell” responses were considered medium risk of bias and studies that had 6-9 “no” or “can’t tell” responses were considered high risk of bias. An overview of risk of bias assessment of included qualitative studies by risk of bias item can be found in Appendix 9. 3.3.4 Measures of treatment effects We extracted information from each quantitative study to allow for the estimation of standardized effect sizes across studies to the extent possible. In addition, we calculated standard errors and 95 per cent confidence intervals if the information from the studies allowed for this. We conducted the sample size calculations in a consistent way to ensure comparability across studies. The quantitative studies in our review showed substantial variation in the way they measured empowerment, even in those cases in which the studies measured the same construct. This variation was not surprising as there is no consensus as to how to measure economic, psychological, social and/or political empowerment. As discussed in our section on

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