Meta-Ethnography and its Potential for Theory Building in Library and Information Science

Nancy Everhart, Melissa P. Johnston


Meta-ethnography is an interpretive method that provides a way to synthesize the findings of two or more qualitative studies concerning a similar research question or topic. Going beyond the traditional literature review, which looks at individual studies, meta-ethnography facilitates generalizations through extracting concepts, metaphors, and themes. This paper provides a thorough description of the seven steps of meta-ethnography as defined by Noblit and Hare (1988). Implications for this method and the field of Library and Information Science (LIS), especially in the area of theory building, are discussed. Appropriate examples of actual and potential applications within LIS and related disciplines are given to illustrate the potential for the meta-ethnographic method.


meta-ethnography, school library

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ISSN 1756-1086 (Online)