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Logo of bmcmrmBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Medical Research Methodology
 
From:
Published online Aug 3, 2012. doi: 10.1186/1471-2288-12-114
Table 2
Analysis plan and anticipated outputs for each of the 3 synthesis objectives
Synthesis objectiveMethodQuestions to guide analysisAnticipated outputs
1: To characterize the synthesis methodologies
We will categorize or ‘chart’ [47] the synthesis methodology reported in each of the included studies using specific questions to guide the analysis
1. What is a general description of the knowledge synthesis method?
· To identify ‘x’ articles that report a knowledge synthesis method and of these, ‘y’ articles used the subjective idealism approach in ‘z’ discipline.
 
 
2. What is the purpose of the knowledge synthesis method?
· A taxonomy of knowledge synthesis methods across multidisciplinary fields
o Categorization of the synthesis methods to reveal what research is available within specific disciplines
 
 
3.What is the epistemological approach of the method? Is it subjective idealism (i.e., there is no shared reality independent of multiple alternative human constructions) or objective idealism (i.e., there is a world of collectively shared understandings)?
 
 
 
4. Which discipline is the knowledge synthesis associated with (e.g., health, philosophy)?
 
 
 
5. What type of evidence can be synthesized by the knowledge synthesis method – quantitative, qualitative or mixed quantitative and qualitative?
 
 
 
6. How has the method been used to answer healthcare topics?
o Additional categories may be identified iteratively through completion of the search and in consultation with the team members including the knowledge users
2: To identify the similarities and differences between these methods
We will categorize articles that specifically address the similarities and differences between the knowledge synthesis methods by comparing the synthesis methodology reported in each of the included studies
1. What are the similarities and differences among the knowledge synthesis methods?
· An in-depth comparison of the review methods in a table including:
 
 
2. How does the method differ from ‘traditional’ systematic review methods?
i. The specific features of the method that make it more appropriate to answer a question
 
 
3. What is the minimum expertise required to implement the knowledge synthesis method? Are particular skills required? Is a particular disciplinary background recommended?
i. The facilitators and barriers to using one synthesis method over another (especially if more than one synthesis method may be appropriate to answer the same research question)
 
 
4. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each knowledge synthesis method?
 
 
 
5. How comprehensive is the knowledge synthesis method? Can it be used for the entire synthesis or only for a part of the synthesis (e.g., the analysis)?
 
 
 
6. How applicable is the method and how can it be applied to healthcare interventions?
 
3: To map out a process for conducting different synthesis methods and to provide an approach for matching the appropriate method to answer research questions
We will categorize key articles that explicitly explain the specific methodology of the knowledge synthesis method.
1. What are the specific steps to conducting the knowledge synthesis method?
· An algorithm to guide synthesis methodology (informed by findings from objective 2 and consultation with knowledge users)
 
 
2. Was the method empirically derived (i.e., through experiment and observation) or theoretically derived?
· The mapping of specific steps to conducting the review
· A bibliography of articles that describe how to conduct the different knowledge synthesis methods
 
 
3. Are the steps operationalized (i.e., reported in a reproducible manner)?
 
  4. In what disciplinary fields and contexts are the steps operationalizable? Can they feasibly be applied to other contexts? 
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