France E, Ring N & Jepson R (2016) Developing a meta-ethnography reporting guideline for research (eMERGe). In: International Journal of Qualitative Methods, volume 15. IIQM 15th Annual Qualitative Methods Conference, Glasgow, 03.05.2016-05.05.2016. SAGE Publications. https://doi.org/10.1177/1609406916672113
Abstract With the plethora of published research studies, evidence-based policy and practice require robust evidence syntheses. Syntheses of qualitative studies can advance understanding of people’s experiences of a given issue (e.g., health care). One synthesis approach particularly suited to providing a nuanced understanding of experiences and developing theory to inform practice is meta-ethnography. However, meta-ethnography reporting—especially of the analytical processes and findings - is often poor quality, which discourages trust in, and use of, meta-ethnography findings. Tailored reporting guidelines for syntheses can raise reporting standards but none exists for meta-ethnography. The Meta-Ethnography Reporting Guideline for Research study aims to create an evidence-based meta-ethnography reporting guideline to improve reporting quality. The mixed-methods design of this National Institute of Health Research-funded study (http://www.stir.ac.uk/emerge/) follows good practice in research reporting guideline development comprising (1) a methodological systematic review of guidance in conducting/reporting meta-ethnography, (2) a review and audit of published meta-ethnographies to identify good practice principles, (3) consensus studies to agree guideline content, and (4) development and wide dissemination of the guideline. Meta-ethnography, devised in the field of education, is used widely in other disciplines. The extent of discipline-specific methodological adaptations and their fit with the underpinning philosophy of meta-ethnography require investigation. Well-reported meta-ethnography findings could inform evidence-based decision-making. A bespoke meta-ethnography reporting guideline is needed to improve reporting quality and will be developed in this rigorous study. By raising reporting quality, the guideline will maximise the likelihood that high-quality meta-ethnographies will contribute robust evidence to improve practice, policy, and service user outcomes in health and other fields.