chapter  3
Designing the synthesis
Pages 13

In this chapter, we describe the key processes associated with designing and defining the parameters of the search during qualitative research synthesis. We argue that the synthesist should be self-aware throughout this design process. We believe that it is critical, for example, to acknowledge the interplay between synthesist and study during the question design process, since the question sets the parameters for what will and will not be studied. Further, the way in which a synthesist defines search strings, locates studies, articulates inclusion and exclusion criteria, and then evaluates articles, all are central to qualitative research synthesis, and all are influenced heavily by the synthesist’s belief systems. For these reasons, we believe that it is critical for the synthesist to be self-aware, to the point of self-consciousness, while establishing search parameters.