Research Output

Improving reporting of meta-ethnography: The eMERGe reporting guidance

Evidence-based policy and practice require robust evidence syntheses which can further understanding of people’s experiences and associated social processes. Meta-ethnography is a rigorous seven-phase qualitative evidence synthesis methodology, developed by Noblit and Hare. Meta-ethnography is used widely in health research but reporting is often poor quality, and this discourages trust in, and use of its findings. Meta-ethnography reporting guidance is
needed to improve reporting quality.
Design The eMERGe study used a rigorous mixed-methods design and evidence-based methods to develop the novel reporting guidance and explanatory notes.
The study, conducted from 2015-2017, comprised of: (1) a methodological systematic review of guidance for meta-ethnography conduct and reporting; (2) a review and audit of published
meta-ethnographies to identify good practice principles; (3) international, multi-disciplinary consensus-building processes to agree guidance content; (4) innovative development of the guidance and explanatory notes.
Recommendations and good practice for all seven phases of meta-ethnography conduct and reporting were newly identified leading to nineteen reporting criteria and accompanying detailed guidance.
The bespoke eMERGe Reporting Guidance, which incorporates new methodological developments and advances the methodology, can help researchers to report the important aspects of meta-ethnography. Use of the guidance should raise reporting quality. Better reporting could make assessments of confidence in the findings more robust and increase use of meta-ethnography outputs to improve practice, policy and service user outcomes in health
and other fields. This is the first tailored reporting guideline for meta-ethnography.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    15 January 2019

  • Publication Status:


  • DOI:


  • ISSN:


  • Library of Congress:

    RA Public aspects of medicine

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    610.7 Medical education, research & nursing

  • Funders:

    NIHR National Institute for Health Research; British Heart Foundation; National Institute for Health Research; Cancer Research UK; Economic and Social Research Council; Medical Research Council; Wellcome Trust; United Kingdom Clinical Research Collaboration; Welsh Government


France, E. F., Cunningham, M., Ring, N., Uny, I., Duncan, E. A., Jepson, R. G., …Noyes, J. (2019). Improving reporting of meta-ethnography: The eMERGe reporting guidance. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 75(5), 1126-1139.



Guideline, meta‐ethnography, nursing, publication standards, qualitative evidence synthesis, qualitative research, reporting, research design,

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    © 2019 The Authors. Journal of Advanced Nursing Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

    This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.

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