Qualitative Metasynthesis Project
 
  UNC School of Nursing Welcome to the homepage of The Qualitative Metasynthesis Project. This research project is supported by a grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research/National Institutes of Health (NR04907 & NR04907S, 2000-2005).

 
  Purpose & Design of Qualitative Metasynthesis Project

Project Links
SandBar Digital Library
http://sonweb.unc.edu/sandbar
(also hosted at The Well Project
http://www.thewellproject.org)

On line supplement to
Synthesizing Qualitative Research
http://www.unc.edu/~msandelo/handbook


Contact Information

Dr. Margarete Sandelowski at
msandelo@email.unc.edu

Dr. Julie Barroso at
julie.barroso@duke.edu


The purpose of the Qualitative Metasynthesis Project was to clarify, refine, and develop new analytic and interpretive techniques to synthesize qualitative research findings. Studies of HIV-positive women were used to develop these techniques, and studies of women and couples receiving positive prenatal diagnoses were used to evaluate and refine them. To begin the project, we drew from procedures traditionally associated with research synthesis to set inclusion criteria and to search for and retrieve relevant literature, and from available guidelines used to evaluate qualitative studies. We used reflexive accounting practices, such as the maintenance of an audit trail, think/talk aloud and negotiated consensus processes, and peer review, throughout the project. As we developed procedures, a six-member panel of experts evaluated them with purposeful samples of research reports in the study. An additional “test” of our procedures was to use them to complete several research syntheses.

The final sample of HIV studies consists of 114 reports appearing between 1991 (when the first study meeting our inclusion criteria was published) and 2002, including 79 published reports (75 journal articles, 2 books, 1 book chapter, and 1 technical report) and 35 unpublished reports (31 doctoral dissertations and 4 Master’s theses). These works were retrieved between June 1, 2000 and December 31, 2002. The final sample of positive prenatal diagnosis studies consists of 17 reports appearing between 1984 (when the first study meeting our inclusion criteria was published) and 2002, including 13 published reports (10 journal articles, 2 books, and 1 book chapter) and 4 unpublished reports (3 doctoral dissertations and 1 Master’s thesis). These works were retrieved between December 1, 2002 and March 31, 2003.

Outcomes of Qualitative Metasynthesis Project

The major outcomes of the Qualitative Metasynthesis Project are:
  • clarification of conceptual and methodological issues pertaining to qualitative research integration
  • development of a set of guidelines for searching for and retrieving qualitative research reports
  • development of a reading guide to appraise qualitative research reports
  • development of a typology to classify qualitative research findings
  • development of the method of qualitative metasummary for integrating qualitative survey findings
  • clarification and refinenement of techniques for qualitative metasynthesis
  • a digital library for disseminating research findings
  • a comprehensive handbook for conducting qualitative research synthesis studies
  • four qualitative research syntheses

These outcomes are described or presented in the following publications.
  • Barroso, J., Gollop, C. J., Sandelowski, M., Meynell, J., Pearce, P. F., & Collins, L. J. (2003). The challenges of searching for and retrieving qualitative studies. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 25, 153-178.
  • Barroso, J., & Sandelowski, M. (2003). Sample reporting in qualitative studies of women with HIV infection. Field Methods, 15, 386-404.
  • Barroso, J., & Sandelowski, M. (2004). Substance abuse in HIV-positive women. Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, 15(5), 48-59.
  • Sandelowski, M., & Barroso, J. (2002). Finding the findings in qualitative studies. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 34, 213-219.
  • Sandelowski, M., & Barroso, J. (2002). Reading qualitative studies. International Journal of Qualitative Methods (On line journal), 1(1), Article 5. Available at http://www.ualberta.ca/~ijqm/english/engframeset.html
  • Sandelowski, M. & Barroso, J. (2003). Classifying the findings in qualitative studies.
    Qualitative Health Research, 7, 905-923.
  • Sandelowski, M. & Barroso, J. (2003). Creating metasummaries of qualitative findings. Nursing Research, 52, 226-33.
  • Sandelowski, M. & Barroso, J. (2003). Motherhood in the context of maternal HIV infection. Research in Nursing & Health, 26, 470-482.
  • Sandelowski, M. & Barroso, J. (2003). Toward a metasynthesis of qualitative findings on motherhood in HIV-positive women. Research in Nursing & Health, 26, 153-170.
  • Sandelowski, M., & Barroso, J. (2003). Writing the proposal for a qualitative research methodology project. Qualitative Health Research, 13, 781-820.
  • Sandelowski, M., Lambe, C., & Barroso, J. (2004). Stigma in HIV-positive women. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 36, 122-128.
  • Sandelowski, M., & Barroso, J. (In press; 2005). The travesty of choosing after positive prenatal diagnosis. Submitted to JOGNN: Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing.
  • Sandelowski, M., & Barroso, J. (2004). SandBar Digital Library Project. Available at http://sonweb.unc.edu/sandbar
  • Sandelowski, M. & Barroso, J. (Under contract). Synthesizing qualitative research. New York: Springer.
 
School of Nursing at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC