Steady and delayed: explaining the different development of meta-ethnography in health care and education



Uny I, France E & Noblit GW (2017) Steady and delayed: explaining the different development of meta-ethnography in health care and education. Ethnography and Education, 12 (2), pp. 243-257.

Since its inception in the 1980s, the meta-ethnography approach for synthesising qualitative study accounts has been used extensively in health and social care research and to a lesser extent in educational research. The aim of this article is to reflect on the evolution of the method in both fields. It starts by describing the meta-ethnography approach, charts the rise of evidence-based research in health-related research, and explores the growth in the rate of published health-related meta-ethnographies. It proceeds by offering some explanation for the slower growth in the use of meta-ethnography in educational research. It explains this using the history of the early developments of qualitative approaches in Education and their underpinning paradigms. It then discusses key meta-ethnographies conducted in education, comparing those to more recent ones, in terms of methodological development. The article concludes by drawing lessons about how the conduct of meta-ethnography may be improved in any discipline.

Meta-ethnography; qualitative evidence synthesis; health; education; systematic reviewing; qualitative approach

Ethnography and Education: Volume 12, Issue 2

FundersNational Institute for Health Research
Publication date31/12/2017
Publication date online02/03/2017
Date accepted by journal11/01/2017
PublisherTaylor and Francis

People (2)


Professor Emma France

Professor Emma France

Associate Professor, Health Sciences Stirling

Dr Isabelle Uny

Dr Isabelle Uny

Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Social Marketing

Projects (1)