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Synthesizing Qualitative Studies

Volume: 11

March 1988 | 88 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
How can ethnographic studies be generalized, in contrast to concentrating on the individual case? Noblit and Hare propose a new method for synthesizing from qualitative studies: meta-ethnography. After citing the criteria to be used in comparing qualitative research projects, the authors define the ways these can then be aggregated to create more cogent syntheses of research. Using examples from numerous studies ranging from ethnographic work in educational settings to the Mead-Freeman controversy over Samoan youth, Meta-Ethnography offers useful procedural advice from both comparative and cumulative analyses of qualitative data. This provocative volume will be read with interest by researchers and students in qualitative research methods, ethnography, education, sociology, and anthropology. "After defining metaphor and synthesis, these authors provide a step-by-step program that will allow the researcher to show similarity (reciprocal translation), difference (refutation), or similarity at a higher level (lines or argument synthesis) among sample studies....Contain(s) valuable strategies at a seldom-used level of analysis." --Contemporary Sociology "The authors made an important contribution by reframing how we think of ethnography comparison in a way that is compatible with the new developments in interpretive ethnography. Meta-Ethnography is well worth consulting for the problem definition it offers." --The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease "This book had to be written and I am pleased it was. Someone needed to break the ice and offer a strategy for summarizing multiple ethnographic studies. Noblit and Hare have done a commendable job of giving the research community one approach for doing so. Further, no one else can now venture into this area of synthesizing qualitative studies without making references to and positioning themselves vis-a-vis this volume." -Educational Studies

The Idea of a Meta-Ethnography
A Meta-Ethnographic Approach
Reciprocal Translations as Synthesis
Refutational Synthesis
Lines-of-Argument Synthesis
Inscribing Meta-Ethnographies

Although dated, this text remains a useful text to guide novice researchers to utilise meta-ethnography as a method of organising qualitative and/or ethnographic literature

Mrs Lyz Howard
Department of Health, Health and Social Care Teaching Team
September 12, 2015

This little gem of a book is essential reading for anyone wanting to delve further into the nuances of qualitative research, in particular into meta-synthesis. It is however very specialist and hence of limited value to those who do not need or want to plunge into these issues. Also, it is somewhat dated now and is heavily American in tone and example, thereby limiting its practical application in modern day European health settings. Having said that, I have not found a better source text for data translation.

Ms Amanda Ryan
Institut des sciences et techniques de la réadaptation, University of Lyon I - Claude Bernard
September 25, 2014

Interesting book to complement the bibliography list for my Researching Education Module, especifcally focusing on Ethnography.

Dr Susana Castro
Education, University of Roehampton, London
December 3, 2013

An excellent text which has a clear and supportive exposition. It should be read as a primary source by all who need to better understand qualitative synthetic technique.

Professor Effie Maclellan
School of Education, Strathclyde University
February 7, 2013

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