On 22nd June 2016, Professor George W. Noblit gave a public lecture in Edinburgh, which was co-hosted by SCPHRP (The Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research & Policy) and the University of Stirling. The lecture was attended by 100 guests.
In this lecture entitled How qualitative (or interpretive or critical) is qualitative synthesis and what we can do about this?, Professor Noblit discussed how qualitative research synthesis approaches such as meta-ethnography inevitably involve reductions. However these reductions can have the effect of stripping context from that which is being focused upon and flattening the fuller account into a set of themes that are comparable to other studies. Both decontextualization and flattening are threats to the synthesis being more fully qualitative-interpretive and critical. Similarly, the goal of the synthesis to produce usable knowledge is also a threat to remaining interpretive and critical. He explained how such moves are indeed necessary in health research, and any research focused on working with the needs of people and nature, but how much can be lost.
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