Developing a reporting guideline to improve meta-ethnography in health research: the eMERGe mixed-methods study

Cunningham M, France EF, Ring N, Uny I, Duncan EAS, Roberts RJ, Jepson RG, Maxwell M, Turley RL, Noyes J
Record ID 32018000265
Authors' objectives: To develop guidance to improve the completeness and clarity of meta-ethnography reporting.
Authors' results and conclusions: Results: Results from the methodological systematic review and the audit of published meta-ethnographies revealed that more guidance was required around the reporting of all phases of meta-ethnography conduct and, in particular, the synthesis phases 4–6 (relating studies, translating studies into one another and synthesising translations). Following the guidance development process, the eMERGe reporting guidance was produced, comprising 19 items grouped into the seven phases of meta-ethnography. Conclusions: The eMERGe reporting guidance has been developed following a rigorous process in line with guideline development recommendations. The guidance is intended to improve the clarity and completeness of reporting of meta-ethnographies, and to facilitate use of the findings within the guidance to inform the design and delivery of services and interventions in health, social care and other fields. The eMERGe project developed a range of training materials to support use of the guidance, which is freely available at (accessed 26 March 2018). Meta-ethnography is an evolving qualitative evidence synthesis methodology and future research should refine the guidance to accommodate future methodological developments. We will also investigate the impact of the eMERGe reporting guidance with a view to updating the guidance.
Authors' methods: The meta-ethnography reporting guidance (eMERGe) study followed the recommended approach for developing health research reporting guidelines and used a systematic mixed-methods approach. It comprised (1) a methodological systematic review of guidance in the conduct and reporting of meta-ethnography; (2) a review and audit of published meta-ethnographies, along with interviews with meta-ethnography end-users, to identify good practice principles; (3) a consensus workshop and two eDelphi (Version 1, Duncan E, Swinger K, University of Stirling, Stirling, UK) studies to agree guidance content; and (4) the development of the guidance table and explanatory notes.
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 2019
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Full HTA
Country: England, United Kingdom
MeSH Terms
  • Qualitative Research
  • Guidelines as Topic
Organisation Name: NIHR Health Services and Delivery Research programme
Contact Address: NIHR Journals Library, National Institute for Health and Care Research, Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre, Alpha House, University of Southampton Science Park, Southampton SO16 7NS, UK
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Copyright: Queen's Printer and Controller of HMSO
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