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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Protocol-developing meta-ethnography reporting guidelines (eMERGe)
Authors: France, Emma
Ring, Nicola A
Noyes, Jane
Maxwell, Margaret
Jepson, Ruth
Duncan, Edward
Turley, Ruth
Jones, Derek
Uny, Isabelle
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Keywords: Reporting guideline
Qualitative review or synthesis
Qualitative research
Evidence-based practice
Systematic review
Issue Date: 25-Nov-2015
Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd
Citation: France E, Ring NA, Noyes J, Maxwell M, Jepson R, Duncan E, Turley R, Jones D & Uny I (2015) Protocol-developing meta-ethnography reporting guidelines (eMERGe), BMC Medical Research Methodology, 15 (1), Art. No.: 103.
Abstract: 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 ( 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.
Type: Journal Article
DOI Link:
Rights: © France et al. 2015 This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Affiliation: NMAHP Research
HS Research - Stirling
Bangor University
HS Research - Stirling
University of Edinburgh
NMAHP Research
Cardiff University
NMAHP Research
NMAHP Research

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