Qualitative Research Synthesis: Is there method in this madness?

Researchers across education and practice are experiencing an escalating need to demonstrate innovation and effectiveness in an increasingly competitive economic climate where funding for research is decreasing. In this seminar, it will be suggested that researchers need to consider alternative means of advancing their work. Whilst synthesis of quantitative studies has an established method and profile within the research community, it will be argued that specific methods are required to combine the more personalized perspectives typical of qualitative research.
This seminar will present Qualitative Research Synthesis (QRS), which draws on the earlier work of meta-ethnography but adopts a clear interpretivist stance. The QRS process offers a useful means of maximising knowledge production, relevance and scientific knowledge for dissemination. Furthermore, QRS provides researcher knowledge about quality issues when conducting qualitative research methodology, since only studies of accepted calibre and standing are included. However, it is also possible that undertaking this approach is something that is seen as valuable because it fits with our increasing litigious societies and performative cultures—which, in the end, may turn out to be the means by which we are hoisted by our own petard.
Bio Note
Maggi Savin-Baden is Professor of Higher Education Research and Coventry University, and Director of the Learning Innovation Research Group. Innovation and change have been the focus of Maggi’s research for many years. Her current research, which is funded by the Leverhulme Trust, focuses on the impact of virtual worlds on learning and teaching. Over the last three years she has been developing the method of Qualitative Research Synthesis. In 2010 she published three books related to qualitative research: An Introduction to Qualitative Research Synthesis (Routledge); New Approaches to Qualitative Research: Wisdom and Uncertainty (Routledge); and Teaching and Learning in Second Life (McGraw Hill). She recently completed her 11th book (also on qualitative research methods) and has decided it’s time to learn how to snowboard.

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