INTRODUCTION: Little is known about how to reduce unnecessary imaging for low back pain. Understanding clinician, patient and general public beliefs about imaging is critical to developing strategies to reduce overuse.
OBJECTIVE: To synthesise qualitative research that has explored clinician, patient or general public beliefs about diagnostic imaging for low back pain.
METHODS AND ANALYSIS: We will perform a qualitative evidence synthesis of relevant qualitative research exploring clinician, patient and general public beliefs about diagnostic imaging for low back pain. Exclusions will be studies not using qualitative methods and studies not published in English. Studies will be identified using sensitive search strategies in MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, AMED and PsycINFO. Two reviewers will independently apply inclusion and exclusion criteria, extract data, and use the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme quality assessment tool to assess the quality of included studies. To synthesise the data we will use a narrative synthesis approach that involves developing a theoretical model, conducting a preliminary synthesis, exploring relations in the data, and providing a structured summary. We will code the data using NVivo. At least two reviewers will independently apply the thematic framework to extracted data. Confidence in synthesis findings will be evaluated using the GRADE Confidence in the Evidence from Reviews of Qualitative Research tool.
ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval is not required to conduct this review. We will publish the results in a peer-reviewed journal.
PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42017076047.