Using qualitative metasummary to synthesize qualitative and quantitative descriptive findings


  • Margarete Sandelowski,

    Corresponding author
    1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing, Chapel Hill, NC
    • 7460 Carrington Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27599.
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    • Cary C. Boshamer Professor.

  • Julie Barroso,

    1. Duke University School of Nursing, Durham, NC
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    • Associate Professor.

  • Corrine I. Voils

    1. Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care, Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Durham, NC
    2. Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC
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    • Research Assistant Professor.

  • The study featured here, entitled Integrating qualitative and quantitative research findings, is funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research, National Institutes of Health, 5R01NR004907, June 3, 2005 to March 31, 2010. We also acknowledge Career Development Award # MRP 04-216-1 granted to the Margarete Sandelowski from the Health Services Research and Development Service of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The views in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Veterans Affairs.


The new imperative in the health disciplines to be more methodologically inclusive has generated a growing interest in mixed research synthesis, or the integration of qualitative and quantitative research findings. Qualitative metasummary is a quantitatively oriented aggregation of qualitative findings originally developed to accommodate the distinctive features of qualitative surveys. Yet these findings are similar in form and mode of production to the descriptive findings researchers often present in addition to the results of bivariate and multivariable analyses. Qualitative metasummary, which includes the extraction, grouping, and formatting of findings, and the calculation of frequency and intensity effect sizes, can be used to produce mixed research syntheses and to conduct a posteriori analyses of the relationship between reports and findings. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 30: 99–111, 2007