Title

Methodological issues and challenges in data collection and analysis of qualitative meta-synthesis

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Qualitative meta-synthesis is an emerging method for synthesis of findings of qualitative studies. Based on a qualitative meta-synthesis study on the lived experiences of immigrant Asian nurses working in Western countries (Xu, 2007), this paper discusses several methodological issues and challenges encountered during the data collection and analysis processes and strategies used to resolve them. These issues and challenges include, but are not limited to: adequacy of qualifying studies and inclusion criteria; availability and accessibility of qualified studies; publication bias; quality versus quantity of primary studies; studies containing both quantitative and qualitative data; studies based on identical samples; separation of relevant data for analysis; and validity of synthesis findings. The strategies used (or desired) to resolve these issues and challenges were illustrated with exemplars from the published meta-synthesis study. This paper argues and concludes that: (a) the quality of qualified available studies is more essential for a qualitative meta-synthesis study and the quality versus quantity issue must be dealt with in context and perspective; (b) creativity and flexibility consistent with the principles and spirit of qualitative inquiry is required in resolving these issues; and (c) working within multiple constraints, the meta-synthesist frequently has to settle with less than ideal solutions during the research process in the real world.

Disciplines

Nursing | Other Nursing