Meta-ethnography is a method for reviewing and synthesizing the findings of published reports of qualitative research. It was originally developed in education research by Noblit & Hare, but has since been widely employed in studies of health and illness.

This session provides a brief overview of the development and use of meta-ethnography in health services research. Key references in methodological development and reporting standards are scrutinised alongside exemplars of research excellence. The method is contrasted with other methods of qualitative synthesis such as thematic synthesis or framework synthesis.

A cornerstone of meta-ethnography is that it should lead to insights or interpretations that were not apparent in the individual included studies. It is recommended that the method is put to best use by multi-disciplinary research teams including experienced qualitative researchers.