This supplemental guidance is intended to be used in conjunction with the current edition of the Cochrane Handbook.
Note: the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions, Version 6, has been completed. A second edition of the book version is now in press and will be published by Wiley in October 2019. All the chapters contained in the printed version will be freely available online in browsable form; the online version will provide additional chapters and supplementary material mostly specific to the Cochrane context. The chapters from the Version 6 book are all now available as PDF chapters but only to registered Cochrane contributors (Archie login required).The printed copy and publicly accessible web version will be available in October 2019.
Joanna Briggs Institute Reviewer's Manual Chapter 2 (Systematic Reviews of Qualitative Evidence): Lockwood C, Porrit K, Munn Z, Rittenmeyer L, Salmond S, Bjerrum M, Loveday H, Carrier J, Stannard D. Chapter 2: Systematic reviews of qualitative evidence. In: Aromataris E, Munn Z (Editors). Joanna Briggs Institute Reviewer's Manual, 4th edition. The Joanna Briggs Institute, 2017. Available from https://reviewersmanual.joannabriggs.org/
The two sister-journals, Trials and Systematic Reviews, have, on the face of it, different readerships and deal with different issues. In both journals there is, however, a common and growing interest in the contribution of qualitative methods. We are seeing an expansion of the use and application of a range of techniques with entry into novel research areas and pursuit of new lines of inquiry. Our contributors are working within specific methods, with mixed methods, and across paradigms. This special issue covers these innovative and challenging areas, with the aim of sharing methodological practice, findings and reflections to drive forward and further the respective fields.
Systematic Review of Qualitative Research (Meta-Synthesis)
Funded by the National Institute for Health Research of the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK, The aim of the eMERGe project, which ran from June 2015 to May 2017, was to develop a guideline to improve the way researchers report meta-ethnographies. The website includes many resources and publications. From the website:
Meta-ethnography is an interpretive qualitative synthesis approach developed by George W. Noblit and R. Dwight Hare, in the field of education, in the 1980s. They designed the approach to address the inability of an aggregative synthesis of five ethnographic studies to explain the failure of racial desegregation in schools. In a meta-ethnography, the reviewers conducting the meta-ethnography aim to produce new interpretations that transcend the findings of individual studies, rather than simply to aggregate findings. Noblit and Hare described it as ‘making a whole into something more than the parts alone imply’ (Noblit & Hare, 1988, p. 28), i.e. going beyond the findings of any individual study.
Meta-ethnography differs from other qualitative evidence synthesis approaches in its underpinning theory, use of the authors’ interpretations (e.g. concepts, themes) from primary qualitative studies as data, and creation of new interpretations through its unique analytic synthesis process. Researchers select, analyse and interpret qualitative studies to answer focused questions on a specific topic (e.g. people’s experiences of having and being treated for arthritis) to come up with new insights and conclusions. The aim of the eMERGe project was to develop a guideline to improve the way researchers report meta-ethnographies.
France, E. F., Ring, N., Thomas, R., Noyes, J., Maxwell, M., & Jepson, R. (2014). A methodological systematic review of what's wrong with meta-ethnography reporting. BMC medical research methodology, 14(1), 119.
Toye, F., Seers, K., Allcock, N., Briggs, M., Carr, E., Andrews, J., & Barker, K. (2013). 'Trying to pin down jelly'-exploring intuitive processes in quality assessment for meta-ethnography. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 13(1), 46.
Some additional meta-ethnography resources and examples:
SAGE Research Methods (Qualitative) contains many resources for meta-ethnography. "Meta-ethnography" can be searched from the general Sage Methods page.
To see some examples of published meta-ethnographies in Scopus (which indexes both social science and health-related literature), you can run a quick and dirty search such as "public health AND meta-ethnography" or "public health AND (policy OR management) and meta-ethnography)" .
Search the UNC Library Catalog
The Books section of this page contains a small selection of the books available on including qualitative research in systematic reviews. To find more, click the links below to search the UNC library catalog.
Great book for Masters or a PhD students conducting a systematic review for your dissertation or thesis. NOTE: If you are considering purchasing a book, buy the 2nd edition (2017).
Written by experts with years of experience in conducting systematic reviews and supervising students doing systematic reviews, the book provides a roadmap to guide you through the process. Authors answer questions posed by real students carrying out reviews. Chapter on reviewing qualitative evidence.
An Introduction to Systematic Reviews
by David Gough (Editor); Sandy Oliver (Editor); James Thomas (Editor)
Call Number: Davis: H62.G68 2012
Publication Date: 2012-04-04
Particularly helpful for Policy- and Social Science-related reviews as it draws on the work of the EPPI-Centre (Evidence for Policy & Practice Information-Centre) based in the Social Science Research Unit at the Institute of Education in London. NOTE: If you are considering purchasing a book, buy the 2nd edition (2017).
Overview of the nature, logic, diversity and process of undertaking systematic reviews as part of evidence informed decision making. Covers the full breadth of approaches to reviews from statistical meta analysis to meta ethnography. Five content sections: Approaches to reviewing, Getting started, Gathering and describing research, Appraising and synthesising data, Making use of reviews/models of research use.
Call Number: R853.Q34 S26 2007 at Davis Library (5th floor), W 20.5 S214h 2007 at the Health Sciences Library and HSL History Collection, C378 UMs22.3 at the North Carolina Collection. Check availability of print copies
(The links in this book tend to be out of date, but the explanations of the systematic review process are clear and well-laid out). Written by two highly-respected social scientists, provides an overview of systematic literature review methods: outlines the rationale and methods of systematic reviews; gives worked examples from social science and other fields; Takes the reader through the process stage by stage; Including detailed sections on assessing the quality of both quantitative, and qualitative research; searching for evidence in the social sciences; meta-analytic and other methods of evidence synthesis; publication bias; heterogeneity; and approaches to dissemination.
This recording is of the first webinar of the 2013-2014 Different Evidence, Different Syntheses Series. Jane Noyes of the Cochrane Qualitative and Implementation Methods Group for the discussion was the presenter for the webinar held on November 28, 2013.This webinar explored:
a) when to consider undertaking a synthesis of qualitative evidence;
b) some frequently used methods and examples of developing methods for synthesising qualitative evidence; and
c) approaches for integrating qualitative and quantitative findings.
In: Viswanathan M, Ansari MT, Berkman ND, Chang S, Hartling L, McPheeters LM, Santaguida PL, Shamliyan T, Singh K, Tsertsvadze A, Treadwell JR. Assessing the Risk of Bias of Individual Studies in Systematic Reviews of Health Care Interventions. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Methods Guide for Comparative Effectiveness Reviews. March 2012. AHRQ Publication No.
12-EHC047-EF. Available at: www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/
Sanderson S, Tatt ID, Higgins JP. Tools for assessing quality and susceptibility to bias in observational studies in epidemiology: a systematic review and annotated bibliography. Int J Epidemiol 2007;36:666-76.
A series of critical appraisal tools from the Cincinnati Children's Hospital. Contains tools for a wide variety of study designs, including prospective, retrospective, qualitative, and quantitative designs.