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Using Mixed Methods Research Synthesis for Literature Reviews

Using Mixed Methods Research Synthesis for Literature Reviews

First Edition

May 2016 | 344 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Providing step-by-step instruction for conducting a mixed methods research synthesis (MMRS) that integrates both qualitative and quantitative evidence, this book progresses through a systematic, comprehensive approach to conducting an MMRS literature review to analyze and summarize the empirical evidence regarding a particular review question. Readers will benefit from discussion of the potential advantages of MMRS and guidance on how to avoid its potential pitfalls.

 Using Mixed Methods Research Synthesis for Literature Reviews is Volume 4 in the SAGE Mixed Methods Research Series. To learn more about each text in the series, please visit  

Chapter 1: Introduction to MMRS Literature Reviews
Historical Sketch, Concepts, and Definitions

Overview of the Stages for Conducting MMRS Literature Reviews

Ontological Orientations for MMRS Literature Reviews

Practical Guidelines for Conducting MMRS Literature Reviews

Potentials and Pitfalls for MMRS Literature Reviews

Chapter 2: Preparing for an MMRS Literature Review
Building a Review Team

Preparing for the Protocol Phase

Developing a Protocol

Ethics Involved in Conducting MMRS Literature Reviews

Advantages and Pitfalls of the Preparatory Phase

Chapter 3: Searching for Relevant Studies
Search Process

Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria

Documenting and Reporting the Search Process and Results

Challenges of Data Collection and Eligibility Criteria for MMRS Literature Reviews

Chapter 4: Quality Assessment of Primary Research Studies
Defining Quality Assessment

Should We Appraise the Quality of Studies and Why?

Approaches to Quality Assessment

What Sort of Tools Are Available to Support Quality Assessment of Primary Studies?

Dealing With the Outcome of a Quality Assessment Exercise

Remaining Challenges for the Quality Assessment Stage

Chapter 5: Extracting Descriptive Data
Rationale for Descriptive Data Extraction

Four Steps for Extracting Descriptive Data

Systematic and Transparent Descriptive Data Extraction Process

Presenting the Extracted Descriptive Data in the MMRS Report

Challenges of Descriptive Data Extraction for MMRS Literature Reviews

Chapter 6: Data Synthesis for Segregated MMRS Literature Reviews
Data Synthesis for Segregated, Integrated, and Contingent MMRS

Possible Data Synthesis Approaches for Segregated MMRS

Synthesis Approaches for the Qualitative Strand of a Segregated MMRS

Synthesis Approaches for the Quantitative Strand of a Segregated MMRS

Bringing the Findings of the Qualitative and the Quantitative Strand Together

Chapter 7: Data Synthesis for Integrated MMRS Literature Reviews
Possible Data Synthesis Approaches for Integrated MMRS

Quantitizing Approaches

Qualitizing Approaches

Mixed Synthesis Approaches

Chapter 8: Data Synthesis for Contingent MMRS Literature Reviews
Data Synthesis for Contingent MMRS

A Closer Look at Often Used Data Synthesis Approaches for Contingent MMRS

Alternative Data Synthesis Approaches for Contingent MMRS: Bayesian Syntheses

Chapter 9: Reporting MMRS Literature Reviews
Writing Process

The MMRS Report

Publication Outlets for MMRS Protocols and Literature Reviews

Challenges of Reporting and Publishing MMRS Literature Reviews


“This text absolutely offers an avenue for introducing new ways of getting at information in the literature and combining it for effective explanations of results using a chosen methodology.”

Juanita A. Johnson
Union Institute & University

“Each step of the MMRS process is given adequate coverage…This is a great tool for students and novice researchers.”

Tamara Bertrand Jones
Florida State University

“The consistent format of each chapter would provide students with a clear and ‘comforting’ process for learning the material.”

Wendy G. Troxel
Illinois State University

“[The practical tips] are very useful and demonstrate how the information can be utilized in a manner beyond the theoretical discussion of the process.”

Jason S. Wrench
SUNY New Paltz

“‘Using Mixed Methods Research Synthesis for Literature Review’ is a book whose time has come. It provides a thoughtful overview of research synthesis techniques that have been developed from different epistemological traditions. The authors show these traditions complement, rather than compete, with one another. They integrate and present these methods in a practical manner while keeping front and center the importance of the theories underlying the synthesis’ constituent research. They argue convincingly that we need to know not only if social policies and practices work but also why and how they work. The ability of social science to contribute to social policy and practice will benefit greatly from the approach to research synthesis contained herein.”

Harris Cooper
Duke University

“Here Heyvaert, Hannes and Onghena unpack literature syntheses—both qualitative and quantitative—detailing ways to synthesize, segregate, integrate and even to convert qual findings to quan, or quan to qual.  An excellent resource and the next step in moving mixed methods forward!”

Janice Morse
The University of Utah

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

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