Journal of Qualitative Research in Health Sciences

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Medical Education, Virtual School of Medical Education and Management, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Medical Education ,Virtual School of Medical Education and Management, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.



Introduction: Synthesis studies are a way to retrieve, review, synthesize, analyze, and integrate the findings of original studies. The purpose of this review is to shed more light on how meta-ethnography works as a method of inductive and interpretative knowledge synthesis, and on its application and implementation in medical sciences.
Methods: This is a narrative review study whose statistical population included all scholarly publications on the synthesis of qualitative studies and meta-ethnography published between 1998-2022. Our search in international and domestic databases led to extraction of 118 books and articles. After reviewing the titles, abstracts, and full texts of these publications, 2 books and 8 articles were finally included in the study.
Results: Meta-ethnography is a method for synthesizing the knowledge obtained from qualitative studies, which aims at re-conceptualization of their findings. The process of doing meta-ethnography includes the following seven phases: Getting started; Deciding on what is of initial interest; Reading the studies; Determining how the studies are related; Translating the studies to each other; Synthesizing the translations; and Expressing the synthesis. The number of studies required to perform meta-ethnography has been recently suggested to be 40. Strategies for updating meta-ethnography are: 1- repeating the previous strategy 2- reformulating the strategy according to a new objective, a revised review question, or new inclusion criteria.
Conclusion: Meta-ethnography was introduced for the first time in 1988 by Noblit and Hare as a qualitative research synthesis method for the synthesis of educational ethnographies. Today, it is widely used in health care research.