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      Older Adults' Experiences of Occupational Therapy Predischarge Home Visits: A Systematic Thematic Synthesis of Qualitative Research

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          Rationale and standards for the systematic review of qualitative literature in health services research.

          Despite growing recognition of the need for qualitative methods in health services research, there have been few attempts to define quality standards for assessing the results. This article acknowledges the desirability of a plurality of standards. However, it is argued that three interrelated criteria can be identified as the foundation of good qualitative health research: interpretation of subjective meaning, description of social context, and attention to lay knowledge. These criteria can be examined in relation to different dimensions of any research report, including theoretical basis, sampling strategy, scope of data collection, description of data collected, and concern with generalizability or typicality. But if the concern is with the appropriateness of care and with understanding the factors that shape lay and clinical behavior, then these criteria must form the basis of a hierarchy of qualitative research evidence.
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            Worked examples of alternative methods for the synthesis of qualitative and quantitative research in systematic reviews

            Background The inclusion of qualitative studies in systematic reviews poses methodological challenges. This paper presents worked examples of two methods of data synthesis (textual narrative and thematic), used in relation to one review, with the aim of enabling researchers to consider the strength of different approaches. Methods A systematic review of lay perspectives of infant size and growth was conducted, locating 19 studies (including both qualitative and quantitative). The data extracted from these were synthesised using both a textual narrative and a thematic synthesis. Results The processes of both methods are presented, showing a stepwise progression to the final synthesis. Both methods led us to similar conclusions about lay views toward infant size and growth. Differences between methods lie in the way they dealt with study quality and heterogeneity. Conclusion On the basis of the work reported here, we consider textual narrative and thematic synthesis have strengths and weaknesses in relation to different research questions. Thematic synthesis holds most potential for hypothesis generation, but may obscure heterogeneity and quality appraisal. Textual narrative synthesis is better able to describe the scope of existing research and account for the strength of evidence, but is less good at identifying commonality.
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              How to read a paper: Papers that go beyond numbers (qualitative research)

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                British Journal of Occupational Therapy
                British Journal of Occupational Therapy
                College of Occupational Therapists
                0308-0226
                1477-6006
                March 2012
                March 2012
                : 75
                : 3
                : 118-127
                Article
                10.4276/030802212X13311219571701
                © 2012

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