Meta-Synthesizing Qualitative Research in Information Systems
The beauty of qualitative research is in its appreciation of context, pluralism and diversity. However, this appreciation creates a problem; the results from such studies are often dissonant or appear to be disconnected. On the other hand, there is a growing acceptance and appeal for the rich insights gained from qualitative studies in Information Systems. In this paper, we propose the Qualitative Meta-Synthesis as a credible method to create substantive Information Systems theories from qualitative studies. We reflect on how Qualitative Meta-Synthesis has been used in other fields before proposing a set of guidelines. The paper makes a contribution to practice and theory. To theory, the paper offers emergent fields in Information Systems, especially those that depend a great deal on qualitative research (such as community informatics, e-government and ICT for development) a tool with which to create micro-, meso- and macro- level theories. For practice, the paper offers an approach that could assist policy makers to make sense of the dissonant findings from qualitative studies towards the creation of policy.
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