Improving reporting of Meta-Ethnography: The eMERGe Reporting Guidance

Alternative title eMERGe Reporting Guidance



France EF, Cunningham M, Ring N, Uny I, Duncan EAS, Jepson RG, Maxwell M, Roberts RJ, Turley RL, Noyes J, Booth A, Britten N, Flemming K, Gallagher I & Garside R (2019) Improving reporting of Meta-Ethnography: The eMERGe Reporting Guidance [eMERGe Reporting Guidance]. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 75 (5), pp. 1126-1139.

Aims 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 2015-2017, 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, multi-disciplinary 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 nineteen 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.

Meta-ethnography; Reporting; Guideline; Qualitative Evidence Synthesis; Systematic review; Publication standards; Nursing; Qualitative Research; Research Design;

Journal of Advanced Nursing: Volume 75, Issue 5

FundersNational Institute for Health Research, Wellcome Trust, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Economic and Social Research Council and Medical Research Council
Publication date31/05/2019
Publication date online15/01/2019
Date accepted by journal03/07/2018

People (5)


Dr Margaret Cunningham
Dr Margaret Cunningham

Research Fellow

Professor Edward Duncan
Professor Edward Duncan

Professor, NMAHP

Dr Emma France
Dr Emma France

Associate Professor, Health Sciences Stirling

Professor Margaret Maxwell
Professor Margaret Maxwell

Director of NMAHP Research Unit, NMAHP

Dr Isabelle Uny
Dr Isabelle Uny

Research Fellow, Institute for Social Marketing

Projects (1)