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Meta-synthesis of qualitative research

There is considerable debate about the feasibility or value of meta-synthesis of qualitative research - and therefore no specific guidelines can be given.

Some of the problems are highlighted in the following description of an attempt to synthesise some findings about 'user studies'. Research on user studies - information behaviour - can be found in human-computer interaction research, library and information science, and communication and media studies.

Look at the abstract at http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP/article/view/435

The full reference is Wilson, Virginia (2007). User studies differ across disciplines and may not be very effective. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 2(3). Retrieved November 9, 2007 from http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP

One of the problems is that of perspective - the way one researcher understands and describes what they find - means little to another researcher who has a different disciplinary way of thinking. Meta-synthesis may require a 'compare and contrast' approach (Walsh D, Downe S. Meta-synthesis method for qualitative research: a literature review. Journal of Advanced Nursing2005;50(2):204-211) and a process of translation of themes that does not lose meanings but shows the mismatches as well as themes that are similar.