A meta-synthesis of the family experience of traumatic brain injury in adult populations: Reflections on a methodology

Charlotte Whiffin, Fergus Gracey, Caroline Ellis-Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalAbstractpeer-review


Introduction: In recent years there has been increasing interest in the subjective experiences of families post-traumatic brain injury leading to a plethora of qualitative studies. Therefore, an in-depth examination and synthesis of this literature was relevant and timely. Research question: What are the subjective experiences of families following traumatic brain injury in adult populations in the sub/post-acute period. Design: Meta-synthesis using Thomas and Harden’s framework of ‘thematic synthesis’ rooted in a critical realist philosophy. Sample: Thirty peer-reviewed published papers that reported qualitative data. Data collection and analysis: Five electronic databases, were searched for the terms ‘traumatic brain injury', ‘family’ and ‘qualitative’. Each study was assessed for relevance, resonance and rigour. Line by line coding of the findings in each paper was conducted as the basis for a thematic analysis framed through narrative theory. Methodological developments/insights: The theoretical conflicts that meta-synthesis create have made many of its methods contentious within the field of qualitative inquiry. This presentation explores systematic searching, assessment of rigour and the procedures required for synthesis. How a narrative lens enabled us to go beyond the content of the primary studies to create something that was more than simply the sum of its parts is also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-98
Number of pages2
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Methods
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2021

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