Synthesis of qualitative research findings: What are they, where are they and what should I do with them?


Workshop session 4: Thursday, 11:00-12:30

Workshop category: 

  • Methods for conducting syntheses (including different evidence, searching and information retrieval, statistics, assessing methodological quality)


Date and Location


Thursday 14 September 2017 - 11:00 to 12:30


Contact persons and facilitators

Contact person:


Ruth Garside
Karin Hannes
James Thomas
Kate Flemming


Target audience

Target audience: 

Review authors with an interest in undertaking qualitative evidence synthesis

Level of difficulty: 

Type of workshop

Type of workshop : 



Description: Numerous methods exist for synthesising the findings of qualitative research. These range from aggregative methods, which aim to summarise existing findings across studies, to more interpretive approaches which aim to build new constructs from the evidence base. These different approaches use different strategies for extracting & synthesising research findings. Qualitative research findings are not always straightforward to identify and categorise.

This workshop will help participants understand how to choose the right synthesis approach from the options available & to identify different types of findings. It is suitable for those with little or no experience of synthesising qualitative research.

• to ontroduce the spectrum of approaches to qualitative evidence synthesis.
• Offer guidance about which method to choose in different situations, including Cochrane reviews.
• Introduce the different types of findings seen in qualitative research–such as participant quotes (first-order concepts); interpretations by the authors of primary research reports (second-order concepts) and conceptual models.
• Discuss issues with 'finding the findings' in published examples of qualitative research.
• Facilitate group work in which participants will work in small groups to:
o identify and categorise different types of findings in research reports;
o understand how to develop a thematic synthesis;
o understand how to develop a meta-ethnography.