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Meta-ethnography 25 years on: challenges and insights for synthesising a large number of qualitative studies.

Toye F, Seers K, Allcock N, Briggs M, Carr E, Barker K - BMC Med Res Methodol (2014)

Bottom Line: Noblit and Hare propose seven stages of meta-ethnography which take the researcher from formulating a research idea to expressing the findings.These stages are not discrete but form part of an iterative research process.These challenges hinge upon epistemological and practical issues to be considered alongside expectations about what determines high quality research.

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Affiliation: Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, Oxford, UK. Francine.toye@ouh.nhs.uk.

ABSTRACT
Studies that systematically search for and synthesise qualitative research are becoming more evident in health care, and they can make an important contribution to patient care. Our team was funded to complete a meta-ethnography of patients' experience of chronic musculoskeletal pain. It has been 25 years since Noblit and Hare published their core text on meta-ethnography, and the current health research environment brings additional challenges to researchers aiming to synthesise qualitative research. Noblit and Hare propose seven stages of meta-ethnography which take the researcher from formulating a research idea to expressing the findings. These stages are not discrete but form part of an iterative research process. We aimed to build on the methods of Noblit and Hare and explore the challenges of including a large number of qualitative studies into a qualitative systematic review. These challenges hinge upon epistemological and practical issues to be considered alongside expectations about what determines high quality research. This paper describes our method and explores these challenges. Central to our method was the process of collaborative interpretation of concepts and the decision to exclude original material where we could not decipher a concept. We use excerpts from our research team's reflexive statements to illustrate the development of our methods.

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Stages of Meta-ethnography, challenges and factors influencing decision-making. Figure 1 illustrates the stages of Meta-ethnography, challenges and factors influencing decision-making. 1. Getting started; 2. Deciding what is relevant; 3. Reading the studies; 4. Determining how the studies are related; 5. Translating studies into each other; 6. Synthesising translations; 7. Expressing the synthesis.
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Figure 1: Stages of Meta-ethnography, challenges and factors influencing decision-making. Figure 1 illustrates the stages of Meta-ethnography, challenges and factors influencing decision-making. 1. Getting started; 2. Deciding what is relevant; 3. Reading the studies; 4. Determining how the studies are related; 5. Translating studies into each other; 6. Synthesising translations; 7. Expressing the synthesis.

Mentions: Tong and colleagues propose the “ENTREQ” statement as a useful means of reporting the stages common to qualitative synthesis[8] and this is shown in Additional file1. Figure 1 illustrates the seven stages of meta-ethnography: 1. Getting started; 2. Deciding what is relevant; 3. Reading the studies; 4. Determining how the studies are related; 5. Translating studies into each other; 6. Synthesising translations; 7. Expressing the synthesis. Figure 1 also illustrates specific challenges and factors that influenced our research decisions. Each team member wrote a reflexive statement at the beginning and end of the project, and we use excerpts from these statements as exemplars.


Meta-ethnography 25 years on: challenges and insights for synthesising a large number of qualitative studies.

Toye F, Seers K, Allcock N, Briggs M, Carr E, Barker K - BMC Med Res Methodol (2014)

Stages of Meta-ethnography, challenges and factors influencing decision-making. Figure 1 illustrates the stages of Meta-ethnography, challenges and factors influencing decision-making. 1. Getting started; 2. Deciding what is relevant; 3. Reading the studies; 4. Determining how the studies are related; 5. Translating studies into each other; 6. Synthesising translations; 7. Expressing the synthesis.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4127190&req=5

Figure 1: Stages of Meta-ethnography, challenges and factors influencing decision-making. Figure 1 illustrates the stages of Meta-ethnography, challenges and factors influencing decision-making. 1. Getting started; 2. Deciding what is relevant; 3. Reading the studies; 4. Determining how the studies are related; 5. Translating studies into each other; 6. Synthesising translations; 7. Expressing the synthesis.
Mentions: Tong and colleagues propose the “ENTREQ” statement as a useful means of reporting the stages common to qualitative synthesis[8] and this is shown in Additional file1. Figure 1 illustrates the seven stages of meta-ethnography: 1. Getting started; 2. Deciding what is relevant; 3. Reading the studies; 4. Determining how the studies are related; 5. Translating studies into each other; 6. Synthesising translations; 7. Expressing the synthesis. Figure 1 also illustrates specific challenges and factors that influenced our research decisions. Each team member wrote a reflexive statement at the beginning and end of the project, and we use excerpts from these statements as exemplars.

Bottom Line: Noblit and Hare propose seven stages of meta-ethnography which take the researcher from formulating a research idea to expressing the findings.These stages are not discrete but form part of an iterative research process.These challenges hinge upon epistemological and practical issues to be considered alongside expectations about what determines high quality research.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, Oxford, UK. Francine.toye@ouh.nhs.uk.

ABSTRACT
Studies that systematically search for and synthesise qualitative research are becoming more evident in health care, and they can make an important contribution to patient care. Our team was funded to complete a meta-ethnography of patients' experience of chronic musculoskeletal pain. It has been 25 years since Noblit and Hare published their core text on meta-ethnography, and the current health research environment brings additional challenges to researchers aiming to synthesise qualitative research. Noblit and Hare propose seven stages of meta-ethnography which take the researcher from formulating a research idea to expressing the findings. These stages are not discrete but form part of an iterative research process. We aimed to build on the methods of Noblit and Hare and explore the challenges of including a large number of qualitative studies into a qualitative systematic review. These challenges hinge upon epistemological and practical issues to be considered alongside expectations about what determines high quality research. This paper describes our method and explores these challenges. Central to our method was the process of collaborative interpretation of concepts and the decision to exclude original material where we could not decipher a concept. We use excerpts from our research team's reflexive statements to illustrate the development of our methods.

Show MeSH