Meta-synthesis and evidence-based health care – a method for systematic review

Authors

  • Anne Korhonen RN, PhD ,

    Researcher, Corresponding author
    1. Nursing Research Foundation, Helsinki, Finland
    2. Finnish Centre for Evidence-Based Health Care: an Affiliated Centre of the Joanna Briggs Institute, Helsinki, Finland
    • Correspondence to:

      Anne Korhonen, Nursing Reseach Foundation, Asemamiehenkatu 2, 00520 Helsinki, Finland.

      E-mail: anne.korhonen@hotus.fi

    Search for more papers by this author
  • Tuovi Hakulinen-Viitanen RN, PhD,

    Adjunct Professor, Research Manager
    1. Finnish Centre for Evidence-Based Health Care: an Affiliated Centre of the Joanna Briggs Institute, Helsinki, Finland
    2. National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Virpi Jylhä PT, MSc ,

    Researcher
    1. Nursing Research Foundation, Helsinki, Finland
    2. Finnish Centre for Evidence-Based Health Care: an Affiliated Centre of the Joanna Briggs Institute, Helsinki, Finland
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Arja Holopainen RN, PhD

    Research Director
    1. Nursing Research Foundation, Helsinki, Finland
    2. Finnish Centre for Evidence-Based Health Care: an Affiliated Centre of the Joanna Briggs Institute, Helsinki, Finland
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Background

Even the systematic reviews of qualitative studies are discussed health literature, the significance of their results is not fully recognised in evidence-based practice.

Aim

The aim of this article is to describe the systematic reviews of qualitative studies, metasynthesis and its process and consider the meaning of meta-synthesis in evidence-based practice.

Conclusions

Meta-synthesis is a method for synthesising knowledge, for example, relating to service users' healthcare-related experiences and the factors that facilitate their involvement in their own care and commitment to a healthy lifestyle. This type of knowledge is needed in evidence-based practice. Meta-synthesis is a concept that includes several methodologies in synthesising qualitative research findings. This article focuses on meta-synthesis with meta-aggregation as a method for combining data from original studies. Following the principles of scientific rigour, systematic reviews synthesise the best available and critically appraised knowledge. The article describes the process and the role of systematic review of qualitative studies and discusses its significance for evidence-based practice when making clinical and administrative decisions, as well as more widely in social and political decision-making.

Ancillary