Qualitative Research Synthesis

How the Whole Can Be Greater than the Sum of Its Parts

in Anthropology in Action
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  • 1 University of Bergen Hanne.Riese@uib.no
  • 2 Uni Rokkan Centre Benedicte.Carlsen@uni.no
  • 3 Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services Claire.Glenton@kunnskapssenteret.no

The rise of the knowledge society has led to an increase in the amount of research that is produced and an increased demand from decision makers for summaries of this research. As a result, research syntheses have become increasingly important in applied research, especially within the health sciences. However, this methodology has not been adopted with the same enthusiasm in the field of anthropology. In this article, we describe the main principles of this approach and the history of its development and discuss whether qualitative research synthesis can be seen as compatible with (the goal of) anthropological methodology. Finally, we argue for a greater adoption of research synthesis within applied anthropology and call for a greater engagement from anthropologists in the further development of this methodology.

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Anthropology in Action

Journal for Applied Anthropology in Policy and Practice


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