Citation France EF, Cunningham M, Ring N, Uny I, Duncan EAS, Jepson RG, Maxwell M, Roberts RJ, Turley RL, Booth A, Britten N, Flemming K, Gallagher I, Garside R & Hannes K (2019) Improving reporting of meta-ethnography: the eMERGe reporting guidance. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 19, Art. No.: 25. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12874-018-0600-0
Abstract Aims: The aim of this study was to provide guidance to improve the completeness and clarity of meta-ethnography reporting.
Background: Evidence-based policy and practice require robust evidence syntheses which can further understanding of people’s experiences and associated social processes. Meta-ethnography is a rigorous seven-phase qualitative evidence synthesis methodology, developed by Noblit and Hare. Meta-ethnography is used widely in health research,but reporting is often poor quality and this discourages trust in and use of its findings. Meta-ethnography reporting guidance is needed to improve reporting quality.
Design: The eMERGe study used a rigorous mixed-methods design and evidence-based methods to develop the novel reporting guidance and explanatory notes.
Methods: The study, conducted from 2015 to 2017, comprised of: (1) a methodological systematic review of guidance for meta-ethnography conduct and reporting; (2) a review and audit of published meta-ethnographies to identify good practice principles; (3) international, multidisciplinary consensus-building processes to agree guidance content;(4) innovative development of the guidance and explanatory notes.
Findings: Recommendations and good practice for all seven phases of meta-ethnography conduct and reporting were newly identified leading to 19 reporting criteria and accompanying detailed guidance.
Conclusion: The bespoke eMERGe Reporting Guidance, which incorporates new methodological developments and advances the methodology, can help researchers to report the important aspects of meta-ethnography. Use of the guidance should raise reporting quality. Better reporting could make assessments of confidence in the findings more robust and increase use of meta-ethnography outputs to improve practice, policy, and service user outcomes in health and other fields. This is the first tailored reporting guideline for meta-ethnography. This article is being simultaneously published in the following journals:Journal of Advanced Nursing, Psycho-oncology, Review of Education,and BMC Medical Research Methodology.