Qualitative synthesis and systematic review in health professions education

Bearman,M and Dawson,P 2013, Qualitative synthesis and systematic review in health professions education, Medical education, vol. 47, no. 3, pp. 252-260, doi: 10.1111/medu.12092.

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Title Qualitative synthesis and systematic review in health professions education
Author(s) Bearman,M
Dawson,PORCID iD for Dawson,P orcid.org/0000-0002-4513-8287
Journal name Medical education
Volume number 47
Issue number 3
Start page 252
End page 260
Total pages 9
Publisher Wiley
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2013-03
ISSN 0308-0110
Summary Context  Formal qualitative synthesis is the process of pooling qualitative and mixed-method research data, and then drawing conclusions regarding the collective meaning of the research. Qualitative synthesis is regularly used within systematic reviews in the health professions literature, although such use has been heavily debated in the general literature. This controversy arises in part from the inherent tensions found when generalisations are derived from in-depth studies that are heavily context-dependent.Methods  We explore three representative qualitative synthesis methodologies: thematic analysis; meta-ethnography, and realist synthesis. These can be understood across two dimensions: integrative to interpretative, and idealist to realist. Three examples are used to illustrate the relative strengths and limitations of these approaches.Discussion  Against a backdrop of controversy and diverse methodologies, readers must take a critical stand when reading literature reviews that use qualitative synthesis to derive their findings. We argue that notions of qualitative rigour such as transparency and acknowledgment of the researchers’ stance should be applied to qualitative synthesis.
Language eng
DOI 10.1111/medu.12092
Field of Research 130399 Specialist Studies in Education not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 939902 Education and Training Theory and Methodology
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30070545

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