Table 1

Eligibility criteria for inclusion of articles in the review

PICOSDetails of eligibility
PopulationConducted within and/or involving the contribution of healthcare organisations (primary care, secondary care and national-level organisations).
Articles were excluded if healthcare organisations were not directly involved, for example if the sole focus was on patient behaviours
InterventionExplicit use of the ‘positive deviance’ approach, applied on its own or within a complex intervention
ComparisonPositively deviant individuals or groups could be compared with any other group or individual
OutcomeThe positive deviance approach could be applied to address any outcome, behaviour and/or quality improvement issue
Study designPeer reviewed reports of empirical research were included. Peer reviewed editorials reporting the results of empirical research were also included.
General editorials on the approach, non-peer reviewed articles and grey literature were excluded to provide an additional level of quality control, and to reflect the grounding of healthcare within evidence-based practice.
Articles were included regardless of their study design, date or country of origin. It was only possible to include studies published in the English language due to limited resource