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Conducting a meta-ethnography of qualitative literature: lessons learnt

Atkins, Salla; Lewin, Simon; Smith, Helen; Engel, Mark; Fretheim, Atle and Volmink, Jimmy (2008) Conducting a meta-ethnography of qualitative literature: lessons learnt. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 8 . Article Number: 21. ISSN 1471-2288

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Abstract

Background Qualitative synthesis has become more commonplace in recent years. Meta-ethnography is one of several methods for synthesising qualitative research and is being used increasingly within health care research. However, many aspects of the steps in the process remain ill-defined. Discussion We utilized the seven stages of the synthesis process to synthesise qualitative research on adherence to tuberculosis treatment. In this paper we discuss the methodological and practical challenges faced; of particular note are the methods used in our synthesis, the additional steps that we found useful in clarifying the process, and the key methodological challenges encountered in implementing the meta-ethnographic approach. The challenges included shaping an appropriate question for the synthesis; identifying relevant studies; assessing the quality of the studies; and synthesising findings across a very large number of primary studies from different contexts and research traditions. We offer suggestions that may assist in undertaking meta-ethnographies in the future. Summary Meta-ethnography is a useful method for synthesising qualitative research and for developing models that interpret findings across multiple studies. Despite its growing use in health research, further research is needed to address the wide range of methodological and epistemological questions raised by the approach.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Published: 16 April 2008. Page range 1-10 (not for citation purposes).
Uncontrolled Keywords:TUBERCULOSIS TREATMENT; SYSTEMATIC REVIEWS; PUBLIC-HEALTH; EXPERIENCES; CHALLENGES; ADHERENCE; TRIALS; CARE qualitative research; meta-ethnography
Subjects:R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
DOI:10.1186/1471-2288-8-21
Publisher's Statement:© 2008 Atkins et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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Refereed:Yes
Status:Published
ID Code:771
Deposited On:14 Aug 2008 14:44
Last Modified:28 Mar 2012 10:17

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