Systematic Synthesis of Qualitative Research

Michael Saini, Aron Shlonsky

Research output: Book/ReportBookResearchpeer-review

159 Citations (Scopus)


Qualitative synthesis within the family of systematic reviews meets an urgent need to use knowledge derived from qualitative studies to inform practice, research, and policy. Despite the contingent nature of evidence gleaned from the synthesis of qualitative studies, systematic synthesis is an important technique and, used judiciously, can deepen our understanding of the contextual dimensions that emerge from qualitative research. This book presents an overview for planning, developing, and implementing qualitative synthesis within existing protocols and guidelines for conducting systematic reviews. The book also explores methodological challenges, including: the philosophical tensions of integrating qualitative synthesis within the family of systematic reviews; the balance of comprehensive and iterative information retrieval strategies to locate and screen qualitative research; the use of appraisal tools to assess quality of qualitative studies; the various approaches to synthesize qualitative studies, including interpretive, integrated, and aggregative; and the tensions between the generalizability and transferability of findings that emerge from qualitative synthesis.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages224
ISBN (Electronic)9780199932092
ISBN (Print)9780195387216
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Evidence-based practice
  • Implementation science
  • Qualitative methods
  • Qualitative research
  • Qualitative synthesis
  • Social work
  • Systematic reviews

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