ERIC Number: ED231853
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Meta-Ethnography: Issues in the Synthesis and Replication of Qualitative Research.
Noblit, George W.; Hare, R. Dwight
Meta-analysis, as a quantitative approach, requires a determination of a basic comparability between phenomena so that the data can be aggregated for the analysis. This is the crux of the problem with the meta-analysis analogy for a meta-ethnography. It implies an aggregate theory of social explanation, and thus may violate the qualitative, enthnographic approach. Awareness of this problem occurs only when researchers fail to attain a synthesis of ethnographic studies of desegregation. The synthesis attempt as used with two different approaches reveals the problem of the aggregate theory of social explanation. Both synthesis attempts for the five desegregation ethnographies essentially used an aggregate theory of social explanation researching for "general conclusions," and as such both lost the essential values of the ethnographic approach. The search for general conclusions was context-stripping, and reverted to a different standard for theoretical significance: commonalities across-site as compared to the patterns explaining the results for each site. The problem of the aggregate theory of social explanation is thus revealed. Meta-analysis assumes an aggregate theory of combining results and interpreting the magnitude of the combination. A meta-ethnography must have a theory of social explanation that both preserves uniqueness and entails comparison. (PN)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Aggregation (Data); Conceptual Frameworks; Meta Analysis; Meta Ethnography; Qualitative Research
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (67th, Montreal, Quebec, April 11-15, 1983).