Enhancing transparency in reporting the synthesis of qualitative research: ENTREQ

Abstract text
Background: Methods to synthesise qualitative research began with the recognition that evidence-based healthcare and health policy requires evidence beyond that provided by systematic reviews of quantitative research. The synthesis of multiple qualitative studies can pull together data across different contexts, generate new theoretical or conceptual models, identify research gaps, and provide evidence for the development, implementation and evaluation of health interventions.

Objectives: To develop a framework for reporting the synthesis of qualitative health research.

Methods: We conducted a comprehensive search for guidance and reviews relevant to the synthesis of qualitative research, methodology papers, and published syntheses of qualitative health research in MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL and relevant organisational websites to May 2011. Initial framwork items were generated inductively from guides to synthesising qualitative health research. The preliminary framework was piloted against forty published syntheses of qualitative research, purposively selected to capture a range of year of publication, methods and methodologies, and health topics. We removed items that were duplicated, impractical to assess, and rephrased items for clarity.

Results: The Enhancing Transparency in REporting the synthesis of Qualitative research (ENTREQ) statement consists of 21 items grouped into five main domains: introduction; methods and methodology; literature search and selection (approach, inclusion criteria, search strategy, screening, study characteristics, study selection results); appraisal (rationale, appraisal items, process, appraisal results); and synthesis of findings (data extraction, use of software, reviewers, coding process, study comparison, derivation of themes, quotations, synthesis output). (Table 1)

Conclusions: The ENTREQ statement can help researchers to report the stages most commonly associated with the synthesis of qualitative health research: searching and selecting qualitative research, quality appraisal, and methods for synthesising qualitative findings. The synthesis of qualitative research is an expanding and evolving methodological area and we would value feedback from all stakeholders for the continued development and extension of the ENTREQ statement.
Tong A1, Flemming K2, McInnes E3, Oliver S4, Craig J1
1 Sydney School of Public Health, The University of Sydney, Australia
2 Department of Health Sciences, University of York, UK
3 National Centre for Clinical Outcomes Research, Australian Catholic University, St Vincent’s Hospital, Australia
4 Institute of Education, University of London, UK
Presenting author and contact person
Presenting author: 
Allison Tong
Contact person Affiliation Country
Allison Tong (Contact this person) University of Sydney Australia
Date and Location
Oral session A5O2
Monday 1 October 2012 - 11:20 - 11:40