Patient involvement in a qualitative meta-synthesis: Lessons learnt

Kerin Bayliss, Karim Raza, Rebecca Stack, Bella Starling, Eva C Johansson, Codruta Zabalan, Susan Moore, Diana Skingle, Tiina Jasinski, Susan Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
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Patient involvement in systematic reviews is seen as good practice, yet there is a lack of accessible standardised training for those involved. The aim of this paper is to inform the evidence base on effective ways of involving patients in a qualitative meta-synthesis. This process is evaluated and reflected by patient research partners (PRPs) who provided accounts of their experience.
An open ended questionnaire was emailed to eight PRPs who had participated in the analysis of a qualitative meta-synthesis. Questions focussed on the training they received, their experience of coding data and identifying themes, whether they enjoyed taking part in the project and how the process could be improved.
Results: Our findings point to the importance of detailed training for PRPs, using plain English and clear examples of analysis techniques to improve confidence in engaging with meta-synthesis methods. Face to face training was preferred in order to discuss a PRP’s understanding of the task ahead. Time is an important consideration as PRPs often complete this work on top of their daily commitments and need the time and on-going support to be able to immerse themselves in the data. A focus group was a useful way to discuss the themes but it is important that PRPs understand how their comments have influenced the paper. PRPs reported benefits that included building new skills, improving confidence and gaining knowledge. They also asked for feedback on their contribution and any further training needs. All PRPs said they would take part in a meta-synthesis in the future as long as these considerations were addressed.
The recommendations for practice identified in this paper, and guidelines for training, can assist researchers in collaborating with PRPs when developing and conducting a qualitative meta-synthesis.
Original languageEnglish
Article number18
JournalResearch Involvement & Engagement
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2016


  • Patient and public involvement
  • qualitative research
  • meta-synthesis
  • review
  • evaluation
  • co-researcher
  • co-production


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