Meta-ethnography: An interpretative approach to qualitative evidence synthesis

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

The Short Course Programme in Population Health Sciences has been temporarily suspended.


Bookings for 2020-21 courses will open later in the autumn.

Information on this page relates to the last run of the course and is for reference only. 

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We may need to make responsive changes to our future programme to follow the latest Public Health, Government and University guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19).

Please be aware that all information about short courses planned for 2021 is provisional and subject to change.

Course dates

18 - 20 May 20120

Course duration

3 days (including approximately 10.5 hours of lectures and 7.5 hours of practical sessions).
Registration will start at 9am on the first day, and the course will finish by 4pm on the final day.

Course tutors

Dr Alice Malpass, Dr Christie Cabral (course organisers) and others.

Course aims 

To understand and have a working knowledge of meta-ethnography as an interpretive approach to qualitative evidence synthesis.

Course objectives

  • To understand the key steps in conducting a meta-ethnography 
  • To understand the methodological challenges and debates surrounding qualitative synthesis 
  • To understand role of critical appraisal within meta-ethnography 
  • To understand recent attempts to include PPI and ensure quality in the reporting of meta-ethnography  

Who the course is intended for

This course is designed for those curious about meta-ethnography and those wanting to understand whether meta-ethnography is the right qualitative evidence synthesis approach for them and their project.

No previous knowledge of synthesis is needed but the course may be specifically helpful to those planning or about to conduct a qualitative evidence synthesis.

The course content assumes prior experience of interpretive approaches to qualitative analysis.

Course outline

The course contains lectures as well as more informal small group and practical sessions that provide a hands-on introduction to the steps of meta-ethnography. There will be an opportunity for participants to receive advice on individual research projects, and whether meta-ethnography is a suitable approach, in an ‘open surgery’ session at the end of day three.

Topics to be covered include:

  1. Introduction to role of meta-ethnography within evidence based medicine
  2. Search methods for qualitative evidence
  3. The role of critical appraisal within meta-ethnography and QES: critique of debates
  4. Data extraction within meta-ethnography
  5. Roles of translation within meta-ethnography
  6. Approaches to synthesis within meta-ethnography
  7. Role of PPI within meta-ethnography
  8. Reporting guidance for meta-ethnography
  9. Expert advice on individual projects 

Recommended Reading

France, Emma F., et al. "A methodological systematic review of meta-ethnography conduct to articulate the complex analytical phases." BMC medical research methodology 19.1 (2019): 35.

I feel that I learnt a great deal and have the confidence to carry out my own meta-ethnography. The practical elements of the course were really helpful.

Course feedback, May 2019

Course fee


More information on course fees, fee waivers and reduced prices.

Course venue

Bristol Medical School
Canynge Hall
39 Whatley Road
United Kingdom

Map and directions

Course refreshments

We provide morning and afternoon refreshment breaks, including tea and coffee, biscuits and fresh fruit.

If you have specific dietary needs we ask that you let us know in advance.

Lunch is not included. There are a range of local cafes and supermarkets nearby for students to purchase lunch. 


Information about accommodation in the area.


For further information please email

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