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Protocol-developing meta-ethnography reporting guidelines (eMERGe).

France, E.F.; Ring, N.; Noyes, J.; Maxwell, M.; Jepson, R.; Duncan, E.; Turley, R.; Jones, D.; Uny, I.


E.F. France

J. Noyes

M. Maxwell

R. Jepson

E. Duncan

R. Turley

D. Jones

I. Uny


Background: Designing and implementing high-quality health care services and interventions requires robustly synthesised evidence. Syntheses of qualitative research studies can provide evidence of patients’ experiences of health conditions; intervention feasibility, appropriateness and acceptability to patients; and advance understanding of health care issues. The unique, interpretive, theory-based meta-ethnography synthesis approach is suited to conveying patients’ views and developing theory to inform service design and delivery. However, meta-ethnography reporting is often poor
quality, which discourages trust in, and use of, meta-ethnography findings. Users of evidence syntheses require reports that clearly articulate analytical processes and findings. Tailored research reporting guidelines can raise reporting standards but none exists for meta-ethnography. This study aims to create an evidence-based meta-ethnography reporting guideline articulating the methodological standards and depth of reporting required to improve reporting quality.
Methods/design: The mixed-methods design of this National Institute of Health Research-funded study (http:// follows good practice in research reporting guideline development comprising: (1) a methodological systematic review (PROSPERO registration: CRD42015024709) to identify recommendations and guidance in conducting/reporting meta-ethnography; (2) a review and audit of published meta-ethnographies to identify good practice principles and develop standards in conduct/reporting; (3) an online workshop and Delphi
studies to agree guideline content with 45 international qualitative synthesis experts and 45 other stakeholders including patients; (4) development and wide dissemination of the guideline and its accompanying detailed explanatory document, a report template for National Institute of Health Research commissioned meta-ethnographies, and training materials on guideline use.
Discussion: Meta-ethnography, devised in the field of education, is now used widely in other disciplines. Methodological advances relevant to meta-ethnography conduct exist. The extent of discipline-specific adaptations of meta-ethnography and the fit of any adaptions with the underpinning philosophy of meta-ethnography require investigation. Well-reported meta-ethnography findings could inform clinical decision-making. A bespoke meta-ethnography reporting guideline is needed to improve reporting quality, but to be effective potential users must know it exists, trust it and use it. Therefore, a rigorous study has been designed to develop and promote a guideline. By raising reporting quality, the guideline will
maximise the likelihood that high-quality meta-ethnographies will contribute robust evidence to improve health care and patient outcomes.


France, E., Ring, N., Noyes, J., Maxwell, M., Jepson, R., Duncan, E., …Uny, I. (2015). Protocol-developing meta-ethnography reporting guidelines (eMERGe). BMC Medical Research Methodology, 15(1),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 10, 2015
Online Publication Date Nov 25, 2015
Publication Date 2015-12
Deposit Date Aug 7, 2017
Publicly Available Date Aug 9, 2017
Journal BMC Medical Research Methodology
Publisher BMC
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 15
Issue 1
Keywords Reporting guideline – Meta-ethnography, Qualitative review or synthesis, Qualitative research, Evidence based practice, Systematic review,
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Protocol-developing meta-ethnography reporting guidelines (eMERGe). (<nobr>2.1 Mb</nobr>)

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