Dr. Steve MacGillivray

Senior Research Fellow


School of Nursing and Health Sciences
11 Airlie Place

Phone Number:

+(44) 01382 388534

Email Address:



Steve MacGillivray is a Senior Lecturer (Evidence Synthesis) based within the Social Dimensions of Health Institute. Since graduating from the University of Dundee with a degree in psychology, he has developed his academic career in Dundee. He worked as a research assistant, research fellow and senior research fellow within different departments of the Medical School at the University of Dundee. He started in the Department of Psychiatry and then, following a Darwinian approach to employment, worked in Tayside Centre for General Practice; Epidemiology and Public Health; and Maternal and Child Health. Steve is passionate about the application and development of evidence syntheses methodology. He has a track record in Health Services Research and a particular interest in the treatment, management, health and wellbeing of people with mental illness.


Dr MacGillivray is an experienced systematic reviewer, having conducted a wide range of systematic reviews and rapid reviews for different public bodies including: National Institute for health and Clinical Excellence (NICE); Chief Scientist Office (Scotland); Service Delivery and Organisation; Quality Improvement Scotland; NHS Tayside; and the Cochrane Collaboration.

He is skilled in all aspects of the conduct of both quantitative and qualitative evidence syntheses. Dr MacGillivray is particularly interested in developing novel methodologies, and is currently working on novel ways to synthesise meta-syntheses and meta-analyses. He is also developing new methods of Rapid Evidence Synthesis.

Dr MacGillivray conducts a range of different systematic reviews and meta-analyses and is currently a member of six Cochrane Review Groups:

  • Depression Anxiety and Neurosis Group
  • Infectious Diseases Group
  • Consumers and Communication Group.
  • Developmental, Psychosocial and Learning Problems Group
  • Cochrane Anaesthesia Review Group

Neonatal review Group

Dr MacGillivray has a background in mental health and is currently developing and conducting studies in the following areas of research:
The health and wellbeing of people with mental illness.
Iatrogenic obesity in people treated with antipsychotic medication
The treatment and management of depression comorbid with long-term physical illness
The use of mobile technologies to support the self-management of depressive disorders
Treatment of mild major, minor, and sub-threshold depressive disorders

Wider professional activities

I am currently instigating the foundation of a Centre for Evidence Synthesis within the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing.

I am the former director of the Alliance for Self-Care Research (ASCR) consortium and am currently the University of Dundee representative on the executive group of the ASCR.

I co-lead the newly formed Research methods theme within the School of Nursing and Midwifery.

I regularly peer review papers for publication in several high quality Journals, including: British Medical Journal; American Journal of Psychiatry; Family Practice; Archives of General Psychiatry; International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry; Journal of Mental Health; Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, Journal of Advanced Nursing; Health Expectations.

I review grant applications submitted to the Chief Scientist Office, Health Technology Assessment (HTA) and as part of theAlliancefor Self Care’s internal peer review process.

I peer review final reports submitted to Health Technology Assessment (HTA).

I sit on scientific committees for conferences related to self care.

I respond to policy documents in the area of health services research.


Over the past 10 years I have delivered many one day and two day courses focusing on the conduct of systematic reviews. Participants at these courses usually include: Nurses, General Practitioners, Psychiatrists, Surgeons, Psychologists and Professionals Allied to Medicine. I offer specialized teaching across a number of pre-registration and post registration health care related courses regarding evidence based practice and research methods. I regularly teach into the Masters in Public Health run from the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health in the University of Dundee. I provide support and training on the conduct of systematic reviews to clinicians and academics throughout Scotland. I recently co-ran a 6 month research grant writing mentorship scheme for NMAHPs. I am planning to co-run a Masters in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (to commence 2014) with a colleague from Neurosciences University of Dundee. I recently designed a module “An introduction to Meta-analysis” as part of an online Masters in Research.

I am currently designing a suite of workshops on various aspects of systematic review methods and aim to prepare the teaching materials with international partners translated into several languages.

I supervise a number of PhD and Masters students and provide specialist workshops around the methods of systematic reviews for the wider post-graduate community. I also supervise 4th year medical students studying the Intercalated BMSc and provide specialist workshops for all students undertaking that degree. I provide teaching focused on meta-analysis to Psychiatrists in training as part of their special study days.

Current funding

£2.75 million In submission: Scottish Improvement Science Research, Development and Knowledge Translation Collaborating Centre. Scottish Funding Council, Chief Scientist Office and NHS Education for Scotland. Renfrew et al

£80,011. Wellbeing of Women Charity. Investigating the relationship between disability, domestic abuse and access to primary healthcare: implications for health and wellbeing. Bradbury-Jones, Lazenbatt, Devaney, Taylor, & MacGillivray.

£75,000. Joint funded (ESRC & Scottish Government) Doctoral Training studentship. For Mandy Cook (named candidate) to study a PhD titled: Forests as places of mental wellbeing: the meaning and use of urban forests by people with dementia and depression. Supervisors: Dr Ed Hall (Geography); Dr Steve MacGillivray/Dr Thilo Kroll (SDHI). Commenced May 2012.



Understanding factors that impact on public and patient's risk perceptions and responses toward Clostridium difficile and other health care-associated infections: a structured literature review Burnett, E., Johnston, B., Kearney, N., Corlett, J. & MacGillivray, S. Jun 2013 In : American Journal of Infection Control. 41, 6, p. 542-548 7 p.

A systematic review of interventions for eating and drinking problems following treatment for head and neck cancer suggests a need to look beyond swallowing and trismus Cousins, N., MacAulay, F., Lang, H., MacGillivray, S. & Wells, M. May 2013 In : Oral Oncology. 49, 5,p. 387-400 14 p.

Promoting the health, safety and welfare of adults with learning disabilities in acute care settings: a structured literature review Bradbury-Jones, C., Rattray, J., Jones, M. & MacGillivray, S. 2013 In : Journal of Clinical Nursing.22, 11-12, p. 1497-1509 13 p.

Understanding factors that impact on health care professionals' risk perceptions and responses toward Clostridium difficile and meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus: A structured literature review Burnett, E., Kearney, N., Johnston, B., Corlett, J. & MacGillivray, S. 2013 In : American Journal of Infection Control. 41, 5, p. 394-400 7 p.


Understanding factors that impact on public and patient’s risk perceptions and responses toward Clostridium difficile and other health care-associated infections: a structured literature review Burnett, E., Johnston, B., Kearney, N., Corlett, J. & MacGillivray, S. Jun 2012 In : American Journal of Infection Control. 41, 6, p. 542-548 7 p.

The importance of psychological and social factors in influencing the uptake and maintenance of physical activity after stroke: a structured review of the empirical literature Morris, J., Oliver, T., Kroll, T. & MacGillivray, S. 2012 In : Stroke Research and Treatment. 2012, 20 p.195249


A thematic analysis of the conceptualisation of self-care, self-management and self-management support in the long-term conditions management literature Jones, M. C., MacGillivray, S., Kroll, T., Zohoor, A. R. & Connaghan, J. 2011 In : Journal of Nursing and Healthcare of Chronic Illness. 3, 3, p. 174-185 12 p.


Empirical evidence of the relationship between parental and child dental fear: a structured review and meta-analysis Themessl-Huber, M., Freeman, R., Humphris, G., MacGillivray, S. & Terzi, N. 2010 In : International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry. 20, 2, p. 83-101 19 p.


Antidepressants versus placebo for depression in primary care Arroll, B., Elley, C. R., Fishman, T., Goodyear-Smith, F. A., Kenealy, T., Blashki, G., Kerse, N. & MacGillivray, S. 2009 In : Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2009, 3, CD007954


Cross-sectional survey of patients in receipt of long-term repeat prescriptions for antidepressant drugs in primary care Cruickshank, G., MacGillivray, S., Bruce, D., Mather, A., Matthews, K. & Williams, B. 1 Dec 2008 In :Mental Health in Family Medicine. 5, 2, p. 105-109 5 p.


Cross-sectional survey of patients in receipt of long-term prescriptions for antidepressant drugs in primary care Cruickshank, G., MacGillivray, S., Bruce, D., Mather, A., Matthews, K. & Williams, B. Jun 2008 In :Mental Health in Family Medicine. 5, 2, p. 105-109 5 p.

Audio-visual recording of patient–GP consultations for research purposes: a literature review on recruiting rates and strategies Themessl-Huber, M., Humphris, G., Dowell, J., MacGillivray, S., Rushmer, R. & Williams, B. May 2008In : Patient Education and Counseling. 71, 2, p. 157-168 12 p.


Promoting the use of Personal Asthma Action Plans: a systematic review Ring, N., Malcolm, C., Wyke, S., MacGillivray, S., Dixon, D., Hoskins, G., Pinnock, H. & Sheikh, A.Oct 2007 In : Primary Care Respiratory Journal. 16, 5, p. 271-283 13 p

Book/Book Chapter


Shifting Realities: a Systematic Review and Meta-synthesis of the Qualitative Evidence on Cancer and Employment Wells, M., Lang, H., Firnigl, D., MacGillvray, S., Coyle, J., Kroll, T. & Williams, B. Sep 2011 In :European Journal of Cancer. 47, S1, p. S322-S322 1 p.4249

Commissioned report


Benefits and risks of direct access to treatment by dental care professionals: a rapid evidence review Turner, S., Tripathee, S. & MacGillivray, S. 29 Jun 2012 General Dental Council. 85 p.