Dr James Hodgkinson PhD, MSc, BA (Hons)

Institute of Applied Health Research
Research Fellow

Contact details

Primary Care Clinical Sciences
Institute of Applied Health Research
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

James Hodgkinson is a Research Fellow in the Department of Primary Care Clinical Sciences.

He has pursued a career in research through the varied fields of medical, social and even historical research, in academia and the civil service, utilising a wide range of quantitative and qualitative research methodologies over many different projects, but has increasingly specialised in systematic reviewing of late.


  • Advanced Diploma in Management, Oxford Brookes University, 2006
  • PhD Sociology, University of Surrey, 2000
  • MSc with Distinction Social Research Methods, University of Surrey, 1995
  • BSc (Hons) Social and Political Sciences, University of Cambridge, 1993


James Hodgkinson graduated with a B.A. (Hons) in Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge in 1993. He went on to study for a M.Sc. in Social Research Methods and subsequently a PhD at the University of Surrey. He joined the Department of Primary Care Clinical Sciences, University of Birmingham in 2007.

James is currently working with colleagues on a systematic review of the accuracy of ambulatory blood pressure monitors and has recently completed a systematic review of the relative effectiveness and performance characteristics of each of (a) clinic measurements, (b) home blood pressure monitoring and (c) ambulatory monitoring, in the diagnosis of hypertension, provisionally accepted for publication in the BMJ.
For two years he managed and delivered the Birmingham component (working with colleagues at the University of Manchester) of the national Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) Expert Panel that advises the QOF Review Group on changes to the QOF indicators. This involved rapid searching, assessing and synthesizing the evidence base underpinning existing and new areas within QOF, liaising with external clinical area reference groups using consensus methodologies, and writing a number of the reports.
James has also conducted analyses in areas as varied as treatment pathways for and predictors of atrial fibrillation and the use of the ankle brachial pressure index in the diagnosis of peripheral arterial disease, and conducted a number of shorter-term rapid assessments of evidence in a variety of cardiovascular subject areas.
Between 2002 and 2007, James was team leader of the Home Office West Midlands Regional Research Team, providing analytic support and promoting evidence-based approaches to aid regional decision-making and practice. In this role, he led on a systematic review ‘What Interventions are Effective in Preventing or Reducing Gang-Related Criminal Activity and Anti-Social Behaviour?’ in which more than 20,000 studies were initially identified. He also taught iQuanta (Home Office statistical/ performance management tool) to Government Office colleagues and Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP) co-ordinators and analysts, completed a Rapid Evidence Assessment ‘Evidence-based Approaches to Reducing Gang Violence’, presented on rapid evidence assessment and systematic review methodology to both practitioners and specialist research audiences, facilitated the West Midlands Analysts Network, conducted performance management of CDRPs, and completed and published sets of analyses of annual recorded crime and British Crime Survey statistics, as well as conducting numerous ad hoc analyses of regional crime patterns.

From 1999 to 2002 whilst working at the Centre for Primary and Community Care (CRIPACC), University of Hertfordshire, James managed a randomised controlled trial (COPE Trial) to evaluate the cost effectiveness of nurse-led systematic case management of older people in primary care. For this, he accessed and analysed general practice data, designed and analysed questionnaires responded to by more than 2500 patients, undertook qualitative semi-structured interviews with general practice staff and patients, and conducted some observation analysis of case management sessions.

He has also worked as a researcher in Urban History at the Universities of Leicester and Leiden, Netherlands, in 1993-4, and at the Centre for Research in Drugs and Health Behaviour (placement, 1995).


Teaching Programmes



Monitoring and diagnosis of hypertension, systematic review and rapid evidence assessment methodology 

Monitoring and diagnosis of hypertension
The main emphasis of his work over the last two years has been on the monitoring of blood pressure. Results will be published shortly from two systematic reviews of (a) the relative effectiveness and performance characteristics of clinic and home blood pressure monitoring compared to ambulatory monitoring in the diagnosis of hypertension, and (b) the accuracy of ambulatory blood pressure monitors, including considering the clarity and rigour of the various validation protocols.


James has completed analyses of GPRD data on atrial fibrillation (AF), in particular on (i) predictors of AF, focusing on medication usage and pharmacoepidemiological factors,  (ii) treatment pathways for AF (especially the use, maintenance and discontinuation of anticoagulants in patients in different stroke risk categories), and (iii) adverse events and predictors of treatment discontinuation in patients with AF. He has also assessed the pros and cons of introducing a stroke risk stratification indicator into QOF for atrial fibrillation, including an assessment of the validity and sensitivity of CHADS2 across different populations and compared to other risk stratification schemes.
James has conducted an analysis comparing review processes and outcomes using Rapid Evidence Assessment and full Systematic Review approaches using his own work as an exemplar.
He has contributed to analyses for a study assessing the feasibility of using the Ankle Brachial Pressure Index in the diagnosis of Peripheral Arterial Disease in UK General Practice, and, in addition to numerous rapid assessments of the evidence base underpinning a variety of existing and new areas within QOF, has conducted literature reviews considering the quality of evidence in areas as wide-ranging as the effectiveness of Mediterranean diet in reducing cardiovascular risk, the impact of nurse-led outreach programmes for heart failure care, treatment of borderline hypertension using ARBs, the relationship between inter-arm blood pressure difference and arm dominance and the ‘white coat’ effect, evidence for what tests should be carried out (and their frequency) to monitor patients on lipid-lowering treatment, and the relationship between methadone and Torsades de pointes/ prolonged QT.

Other activities

  • James manages the NIHR National School of Primary Care Research finances for the Department of Primary Care Clinical Sciences.
  • James is the Health and Population Sciences Representative on the College Library Committee.
  • He has reviewed papers for different research publications, e.g. International Journal of Hypertension.


Hodgkinson, J., Taylor, C., Hobbs, F.D.R. (2011) ‘Predictors of incident Atrial Fibrillation and influence of medications: a retrospective case control study’ (in press, accepted by British Journal of General Practice)

Taylor, C., Hodgkinson, J., Hobbs. F.D.R.  (2010) ‘Rhythm control agents and adverse events in patients with atrial fibrillation’ International Journal of Clinical Practice July 2010, 64, 8, 1069-1075.

Hodgkinson, J., Marshall, S., Berry, G., Newman, M., Reynolds, P., Burton, E., Dickson, K., Anderson, J. (2009) Reducing gang related crime: A systematic review of ‘comprehensive’ interventions. Technical report. In: Research Evidence in Education Library. London: EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London. ISBN:978-0-9559087-9-8

Burton, E., Butler, G., Hodgkinson, J., Marshall, S. (2007) ‘Quick but Not Dirty: Rapid Evidence Assessments (REAs) as a Decision Support Tool in Social Policy’, in Hogard, E., Ellis, R. and Warren, J. (eds.) Community Safety: Innovation and Evaluation, Chester Academic Press, University of Chester, p.50-62.