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J Clin Epidemiol. 2016 May;73:19-28. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2015.08.030. Epub 2016 Feb 15.

A scoping review identifies multiple emerging knowledge synthesis methods, but few studies operationalize the method.

Author information

1
Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's Hospital, 209 Victoria Street, Toronto, Ontario M5B 1W8, Canada; Epidemiology Division, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Health Sciences Building, 155 College Street, 6th Floor, Toronto, Ontario M5T 3M7, Canada.
2
Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's Hospital, 209 Victoria Street, Toronto, Ontario M5B 1W8, Canada; Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Health Sciences Building, 155 College Street, Suite 425, Toronto, Ontario M5T 3M6, Canada.
3
Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's Hospital, 209 Victoria Street, Toronto, Ontario M5B 1W8, Canada.
4
Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Health Sciences Building, 155 College Street, Suite 425, Toronto, Ontario M5T 3M6, Canada.
5
Bruyère Research Institute, 85 Primrose Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario K1R 6M1, Canada.
6
Research Unit, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, 774 Echo Drive, Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5N8, Canada.
7
Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's Hospital, 209 Victoria Street, Toronto, Ontario M5B 1W8, Canada; Department of Geriatric Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, 27 King's College Circle, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A1, Canada. Electronic address: Sharon.Straus@utoronto.ca.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To systematically identify, define, and classify emerging knowledge synthesis methods through a scoping review.

STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING:

MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, PsycINFO, the Cochrane Methodology Register, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Social Sciences Abstracts, Library and Information Science Abstracts, Philosopher's Index, and Education Resources Information Center were searched to identify articles reporting emerging knowledge synthesis methods across the disciplines of health, education, sociology, and philosophy. Two reviewers independently selected studies and abstracted data for each article.

RESULTS:

In total, 409 articles reporting on 25 knowledge synthesis methods were included after screening of 17,962 titles and abstracts and 1,010 potentially relevant full-text articles. Most of the included articles were an application of the method (83.9%); only 3.7% were seminal articles that fully described the method (i.e., operationalized the steps). Most of the included articles were published after 2005. The methods were most commonly used across the fields of nursing, health care science and services, and health policy.

CONCLUSION:

We found a lack of guidance on how to select a knowledge synthesis method. We propose convening an international group of leaders in the knowledge synthesis field to help clarify emerging approaches to knowledge synthesis.

KEYWORDS:

Knowledge synthesis; Meta-ethnography; Meta-narrative; Meta-synthesis; Realist review; Systematic review

PMID:
26891949
DOI:
10.1016/j.jclinepi.2015.08.030
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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