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Text-in-context: a method for extracting findings in mixed-methods mixed research synthesis studies

Authors

  • Margarete Sandelowski PhD RN FAAN,

    Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor, Corresponding author
    • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
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  • Jennifer Leeman DrPH MDiv,

    Assistant Professor
    1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
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  • Kathleen Knafl PhD FAAN,

    Frances Hill Fox Distinguished Professor & Associate Dean for Research
    1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
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  • Jamie L. Crandell PhD

    Research Assistant Professor
    1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing & Department of Biostatistics, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
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Correspondence to M. Sandelowski: e-mail: msandelo@email.unc.edu

Abstract

Aim

Our purpose in this paper is to propose a new method for extracting findings from research reports included in mixed-methods mixed research synthesis studies.

Background

International initiatives in the domains of systematic review and evidence synthesis have been focused on broadening the conceptualization of evidence, increased methodological inclusiveness and the production of evidence syntheses that will be accessible to and usable by a wider range of consumers. Initiatives in the general mixed-methods research field have been focused on developing truly integrative approaches to data analysis and interpretation.

Data source

The data extraction challenges described here were encountered, and the method proposed for addressing these challenges was developed, in the first year of the ongoing (2011–2016) study: Mixed-Methods Synthesis of Research on Childhood Chronic Conditions and Family.

Discussion

To preserve the text-in-context of findings in research reports, we describe a method whereby findings are transformed into portable statements that anchor results to relevant information about sample, source of information, time, comparative reference point, magnitude and significance and study-specific conceptions of phenomena.

Implications for nursing

The data extraction method featured here was developed specifically to accommodate mixed-methods mixed research synthesis studies conducted in nursing and other health sciences, but reviewers might find it useful in other kinds of research synthesis studies.

Conclusion

This data extraction method itself constitutes a type of integration to preserve the methodological context of findings when statements are read individually and in comparison to each other.

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