Meta-ethnography: An interpretative approach to qualitative evidence synthesis

Provisional in-person short course

Course date 16 - 18 June 2021
Course fee £660
Course Organisers Dr Christie Cabral & Dr Alice Malpass

This course aims to provide an understanding and working knowledge of meta-ethnography as an interpretive approach to qualitative evidence synthesis.


Please ensure you meet the following prerequisites before booking:

Knowledge Previous experience of conducting (or training in) qualitative analysis using an interpretive method such as grounded theory, thematic analysis, narrative analysis, or framework analysis.

Course format

This course will be held in person to over 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 objectives

  1. To understand the key steps in conducting a meta-ethnography.
  2. To understand the methodological challenges and debates surrounding qualitative synthesis.
  3. To understand role of critical appraisal within meta-ethnography.
  4. 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.

In-Person Course Bookings

Subject to developments with the coronavirus pandemic, we have tentative plans to run in-person courses towards the end of our 2020-21 programme. 

Bookings will provisionally open in Spring 2021. Join our mailing list to be notified when bookings open.

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

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We may need to make responsive changes to our courses at short notice in order to follow the latest Public Health, Government and University guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19).

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