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Is meta-synthesis turning rich descriptions into thin reductions?: A criticism of meta-aggregation as a form of qualitative synthesis
The Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences, Nord University, Bodø, Norway.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4917-7766
2019 (English)In: Nursing Inquiry, ISSN 1320-7881, E-ISSN 1440-1800, Vol. 26, no 1, article id e12273Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Meta-synthesis of qualitative research can be an important way to consolidate and grow nursing knowledge and theory. However, from recent readings of such works in the nursing literature, one can observe that there is increasing use of meta-synthesis being used as a way to simply aggregate qualitative research findings in a manner claimed to be similar to quantitative meta-research while also remaining compatible with the qualitative research tradition. The aim of this paper is to discuss whether this meta-aggregation form of research has a sound epistemological foundation and should be considered a viable form of meta-synthesis. The conclusion drawn is that meta-aggregation falls short of being a sound method and is not compatible with the qualitative research philosophy. It is also concluded that meta-aggregation should not be seen as a form of qualitative meta-synthesis. Meta-synthesis is best understood as a way to re-interpret, compare and translate disparate qualitative studies using different conceptual apparatus into a consolidated knowledge of fundamental importance to nursing care practitioners. To conclude, aggregating qualitative research tends to turn rich descriptions into thin abstractions that are of little use to nursing practice knowledge and does not advance nursing science.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Blackwell Publishing, 2019. Vol. 26, no 1, article id e12273
Keywords [en]
meta-synthesis, methodology, qualitative methods, systematic reviews and meta-analyses
National Category
Nursing Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-74607DOI: 10.1111/nin.12273ISI: 000456316800013PubMedID: 30667158Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85058626053OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-74607DiVA, id: diva2:1320345
Available from: 2019-06-04 Created: 2019-06-04 Last updated: 2024-01-02Bibliographically approved

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Bergdahl, Elisabeth

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CiteExportLink to record
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  • apa
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