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Metasynthesis - Research Course in Advanced Qualitative Methods

This is the study programme for 2019/2020. It is subject to change.

Learning outcome

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the arguments for a metasynthesis research design
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the characteristics of different types of metasynthesis approaches and methods with a focus on interpretative meta-ethnography
  • Demonstrate understanding of validity in metasynthesis research designs

  • Be able to create aims and research questions in metasynthesis research designs
  • Demonstrate skills to applicate metasynthesis designs in research with a focus on interpretative meta-ethnography
  • Be able to critically assess and evaluate qualitative studies for inclusion in metasynthesis studies

General competence:
  • Reflect on the use of metasynthesis in evidence-based practice
  • Integrate a critical attitude to validity in metasynthesis research designs
  • Reflect on ethical, gender and ethnic issues in metasynthesis studies


  • Metasynthesis-what, why, and how
  • Metaphors in metasynthesis
  • Meta-ethnography
  • Comparisons of metasynthesis to integrative reviews, systematic reviews, meta-aggregation, meta-analysis and secondary analysis
  • Primary research appraisal

The scientific contents of the course:
Metasynthesis is research on qualitative research and several methods have been developed to synthesize qualitative studies in various fields and disciplines. Meta-ethnography is one of the most used interpretative metasynthesis methods in development. Metasynthesis research has the potential to benefit human and societal development, and may contribute to the use of qualitative research findings in decision-making. Metasynthesis research studies may advance the critical philosophical, theoretical and methodological knowledge and discussion that is relevant to the development of qualitative research.

Required prerequisite knowledge


Recommended previous knowledge

Qualitative methods


Weight Duration Marks Aid
Paper1/1 Pass - Fail
Each participant will write a paper (ca. 3500 words) as a plan for a metasynthesis study related to the participants' own research project using the literature and discussions from the course (OP). The paper should include suggestions and arguments for a) the aim and research question, b) the criteria for inclusion and exclusion, c) a plan for a literature search, d) a preliminary appraisal and analysis of the findings of three included articles, and d) a possible synthesis and finally, e) reflections on the process.

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator
Terese Elisabet Bondas

Method of work

Lectures, exercises and discussions
Mode of delivery: Face-to-face in one session

Open to

PhD Candidates in health sciences. PhD candidates at other universities and university colleges in Norway and EEA can apply for admission to the course. Documentation of admission to a PhD program is required.

Course assessment

Students by way of course evaluation studies (mid-term evaluation and final evaluation). These evaluations are included in the university's quality assurance system.


Required reading:
Bondas, T. & Hall, E. (2007). Challenges in the approaches to metasynthesis research. Qualitative Health Research, 17,113-121. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732306295879

Bondas, T., Hall, E. & Wikberg, A. (20131st ed. /2017 2nd ed.) Metasynthesis in health care research. In P. Liamputtong (ed.), Research methods for health: Foundations for evidence-based practice, Victoria: Oxford University Press.

Booth, A. (2019). Harnessing energies, resolving tensions: Acknowledging a dual heritage for qualitative evidence synthesis. Qualitative Health Research, 29 (1), 18-31. DOI: 10.1177/1049732318808247.
France, E.F., Cunningham, M., Ring, N. et al. (2019). Improving reporting of meta-ethnography: the eMERGe reporting guidance. BMC Medical Research Methodology 19:25. doi: 10.1186/s12874-018-0600-0
France, E.F, Wells, M., Lang, H. & Williams, B. (2016). Why, when and how to update a meta-ethnography qualitative synthesis. Systematic Reviews, 5, Art. No.: 44. doi:10.1186/s13643-016-0218-4.
France, E.F., Uny, I., Ring, N. et al. (2019). A methodological systematic review of meta-ethnography conduct to articulate the complex analytical phases. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 19:35. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12874-019-0670-7.

Hannes, K., Lockwood, C., & Pearson, A. (2010). A comparative analysis of three online appraisal instruments’ ability to assess validity in qualitative research. Qualitative Health Research, 20 (12), 1736–1743. doi: 10.1177/1049732310378656.

Noblit, G.W. & Hare, R.D. (1988). Meta-ethnography: synthesizing qualitative studies. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Sandelowski, M. & Barroso, J. (2007). Handbook for synthesizing qualitative research. New York: Springer.
Recommended reading
Beck, C.T. (ed.) (2013). Routledge International Handbook of Qualitative Nursing Research, Routledge: London
Bondas, T. & Hall, E. (2007). A decade of metasynthesis research: A meta-method study. International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Wellbeing, 2(2), 101-113. https://doi.org/10.1080/17482620701251684
Booth, A., Papaiannou, D. & Sutton, A.(2016). Systematic approaches to a successful literature review. SAGE: London.
Britten, N., Campbell, R., Pope, C., Donovan, J., Morgan, M. & Pill, R.(2002). Using meta-ethnography to synthesise qualitative research: a worked example. Journal of Health Services Research and Policy,7(4), 209-216. DOI: 10.1258/135581902320432732
Cahill, M., Robinson, K., Pettigrew, J., Galvin, R. & Stanley, M. (2018). Qualitative synthesis: A guide to conducting a meta-ethnography. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 81(3), 129-137. https://doi.org/10.1177/0308022617745016.
Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (2018). CASP (Qualitative) Checklist. [online] Available at: URL. https://casp-uk.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/CASP-Qualitative-Checklist-2018.pdf.
Kitzmüller, G., Clancy, A., Vaismoradi, M., Wegener, C. & Bondas, T. (2018). “Trapped in an Empty Waiting Room”-The existential human core of loneliness in old age: A meta-synthesis. Qualitative Health Research, 28(2), 213-230, DOI: 10.1177/1049732317735079
Moher, D., Liberati, A.,Tetzlaff, J., Altman, DG, The PRISMA group (2009). The PRISMA statement. PLoS Med 6(7):e1000097.doi:10.1371/journal.pmed1000097.
Nybakken, S., Strandås, M. & Bondas, T. (2018). Caregivers’ perceptions of aggressive behaviour in nursing home residents living with dementia: A meta‐ethnography, Journal of Advanced Nursing, https://doi.org/10.1111/jan.13807.
Paterson, B.L., Thorne, S.E., Canam, C. & Jillings, C. (2001). Meta-study of qualitative health research. A practical guide to meta-analysis and meta-synthesis. Thousand Oaks, Ca: Sage.
Solbakken, R., Bergdahl, E., Rudolfsson, G. & Bondas, T. (2018). International Nursing: Caring in Nursing Leadership-A meta-ethnography from the nurse leader's perspective. Nursing Administration Quarterly, 42(4):E1–E19, DOI: 10.1097/NAQ.0000000000000314.
Strandås, M. & Bondas, T. (2018). The nurse-patient relationship as a story of health enhancement in community care: a meta-ethnography, Journal of Advanced Nursing, 74, 2. DOI: 10.1111/jan.13389
Tong, A., Sainsbury, P. & Craig, J. (2007). Consolidated criteria for reporting qualitative research (COREQ): a 32-item checklist for interviews and focus groups. International Journal for Quality in Health Care, 19, 6, 1, 349-357, doi.org/10.1093/intqhc/mzm042.
Uny, I., France, E.F. & Noblit, G.W. (2017). Steady and delayed: Explaining the different development of meta-ethnography in health care and education. Ethnography and Education,.tandfonline.com/10.1080/17457823.2017.1282320
Zhao, S. (1991). Metatheory, metamethod, meta-data-analysis: What, why and how? Sociological Perspectives 34, (3), 377-390.
Literature chosen by the student for the home assignment

This is the study programme for 2019/2020. It is subject to change.

Sist oppdatert: 02.06.2020