Qualitative research methods literature review

History[ edit ] Sociologist Earl Babbie notes that qualitative research is "at once very old and very new. Robert Bogdan in his advanced courses on qualitative research traces the history of the development of the fields, and their particular relevance to disability and including the work of his colleague Robert Edgerton and a founder of participant observation, Howard S.

Qualitative research methods literature review

Received Jun 6; Accepted Sep This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Sampling in qualitative research: The Qual Rep20 Abstract Background Overviews of methods are potentially useful means to increase clarity and enhance collective understanding of specific methods topics that may be characterized by ambiguity, inconsistency, or a lack of comprehensiveness.

This type of review represents a distinct literature synthesis method, although to date, its methodology remains relatively undeveloped despite several aspects that demand unique review procedures. The purpose of this paper is to initiate discussion about what a rigorous systematic approach to reviews of methods, referred to here as systematic methods overviews, might look like by providing tentative suggestions for approaching specific challenges likely to be encountered.

The guidance offered here was derived from experience conducting a systematic methods overview on the topic of sampling in qualitative research. Results The guidance is organized into several principles that highlight specific objectives for this type of review given the common challenges that must be overcome to achieve them.

Optional strategies for achieving each principle are also proposed, along with discussion of how they were successfully implemented in the overview on sampling.

We describe seven paired principles and strategies that address the following aspects: Since a broad aim in systematic methods overviews is to describe and interpret the relevant literature in qualitative terms, we suggest that iterative decision making at various stages of the review process, and a rigorous qualitative approach to analysis are necessary features of this review type.

Conclusions We believe that the principles and strategies provided here will be useful to anyone choosing to undertake a systematic methods overview.

This paper represents an initial effort to promote high quality critical evaluations of the literature regarding problematic methods topics, which have the potential to promote clearer, shared understandings, and accelerate advances in research methods.

Further work is warranted to develop more definitive guidance. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article doi: Systematic review, Literature selection, Research methods, Research methodology, Overview of methods, Systematic methods overview, Review methods Background While reviews of methods are not new, they represent a distinct review type whose methodology remains relatively under-addressed in the literature despite the clear implications for unique review procedures.

One of few examples to describe it is a chapter containing reflections of two contributing authors in a book of 21 reviews on methodological topics compiled for the British National Health Service, Health Technology Assessment Program [ 1 ]. Notable is their observation of how the differences between the methods reviews and conventional quantitative systematic reviews, specifically attributable to their varying content and purpose, have implications for defining what qualifies as systematic.

In this paper, we present tentative concrete guidance, in the form of a preliminary set of proposed principles and optional strategies, for a rigorous systematic approach to reviewing and evaluating the literature on quantitative or qualitative methods topics.

For purposes of this article, we have used the term systematic methods overview to emphasize the notion of a systematic approach to such reviews. The conventional focus of rigorous literature reviews i.

A December article in Research Design Review discusses “A Quality Approach to the Qualitative Research Proposal.” The article outlines the eight sections of a “TQF proposal,” i.e., a proposal whereby quality design issues – specifically, related to the four components of the Total Quality Framework – play a central role throughout the writing of each proposal section. number of books on research methodology, qualitative research, statistics, measurement, and the like, as noted by Boote and Beile (), there has been “a paucity of research and publications devoted to understanding it [what a literature review is]” (p. 5). Qualitative research is designed to explore the human elements of a given topic, while specific qualitative methods examine how individuals see and experienc.

By contrast, the focus of overviews of methods, including the systematic approach we advocate, is to synthesize guidance on methods topics. The literature consulted for such reviews may include the methods literature, methods-relevant sections of empirical research reports, or both.

Thus, this paper adds to previous work published in this journal—namely, recent preliminary guidance for conducting reviews of theory [ 11 ]—that has extended the application of systematic review methods to novel review types that are concerned with subject matter other than empirical research findings.

Published examples of methods overviews illustrate the varying objectives they can have. One objective is to establish methodological standards for appraisal purposes. For example, reviews of existing quality appraisal standards have been used to propose universal standards for appraising the quality of primary qualitative research [ 12 ] or evaluating qualitative research reports [ 13 ].

A second objective is to survey the methods-relevant sections of empirical research reports to establish current practices on methods use and reporting practices, which Moher and colleagues [ 14 ] recommend as a means for establishing the needs to be addressed in reporting guidelines see, for example [ 1516 ].

A third objective for a methods review is to offer clarity and enhance collective understanding regarding a specific methods topic that may be characterized by ambiguity, inconsistency, or a lack of comprehensiveness within the available methods literature.

An example of this is a overview whose objective was to review the inconsistent definitions of intention-to-treat analysis the methodologically preferred approach to analyze randomized controlled trial data that have been offered in the methods literature and propose a solution for improving conceptual clarity [ 17 ].

Such reviews are warranted because students and researchers who must learn or apply research methods typically lack the time to systematically search, retrieve, review, and compare the available literature to develop a thorough and critical sense of the varied approaches regarding certain controversial or ambiguous methods topics.

While systematic methods overviews, as a review type, include both reviews of the methods literature and reviews of methods-relevant sections from empirical study reports, the guidance provided here is primarily applicable to reviews of the methods literature since it was derived from the experience of conducting such a review [ 18 ], described below.

Qualitative research literature review | Research Design Review

To our knowledge, there are no well-developed proposals on how to rigorously conduct such reviews. Such guidance would have the potential to improve the thoroughness and credibility of critical evaluations of the methods literature, which could increase their utility as a tool for generating understandings that advance research methods, both qualitative and quantitative.

Our aim in this paper is thus to initiate discussion about what might constitute a rigorous approach to systematic methods overviews. While we hope to promote rigor in the conduct of systematic methods overviews wherever possible, we do not wish to suggest that all methods overviews need be conducted to the same standard.

Rather, we believe that the level of rigor may need to be tailored pragmatically to the specific review objectives, which may not always justify the resource requirements of an intensive review process.

The example systematic methods overview on sampling in qualitative research The principles and strategies we propose in this paper are derived from experience conducting a systematic methods overview on the topic of sampling in qualitative research [ 18 ].

The main objective of that methods overview was to bring clarity and deeper understanding of the prominent concepts related to sampling in qualitative research purposeful sampling strategies, saturation, etc.

Qualitative research methods literature review

Specifically, we interpreted the available guidance, commenting on areas lacking clarity, consistency, or comprehensiveness without proposing any recommendations on how to do sampling.

This was achieved by a comparative and critical analysis of publications representing the most influential i. The specific methods and procedures for the overview on sampling [ 18 ] from which our proposals are derived were developed both after soliciting initial input from local experts in qualitative research and an expert health librarian KAM and through ongoing careful deliberation throughout the review process.

To summarize, in that review, we employed a transparent and rigorous approach to search the methods literature, selected publications for inclusion according to a purposeful and iterative process, abstracted textual data using structured abstraction forms, and analyzed synthesized the data using a systematic multi-step approach featuring abstraction of text, summary of information in matrices, and analytic comparisons.

For this article, we reflected on both the problems and challenges encountered at different stages of the review and our means for selecting justifiable procedures to deal with them.Literature Review 0 No matter the tradition you choose, you must critically review all scholarly literature relevant to your topic.

0 Start with How to Read a Scientific Article 0 It is imperative to know what’s been written on your topic AND where your study will fit into the current literature base. 0 A good literature review “is a synthesis of available research which. In this article, we provide a framework for analyzing and interpreting sources that inform a literature review or, as it is more aptly called, a research synthesis.

Specifically, using Leech and Onwuegbuzie’s (, ) frameworks, we delineate how the following four major source types inform. number of books on research methodology, qualitative research, statistics, measurement, and the like, as noted by Boote and Beile (), there has been “a paucity of research and publications devoted to understanding it [what a literature review is]” (p.

5). number of books on research methodology, qualitative research, statistics, measurement, and the like, as noted by Boote and Beile (), there has been “a paucity of research and publications devoted to understanding it [what a literature review is]” (p.

5). Review of related literature is a requirement for every robust research whether qualitative or quantitative study approach because it is the review of .

Explore the research methods terrain, read definitions of key terminology, and discover content relevant to your research methods journey.

Literature Review - SAGE Research Methods