chapter  1
Making the case for qualitative research synthesis
Pages 14

A number of factors have contributed to the recent drive to approach social science research differently. The morass of existing research reports, for example, has led to a kind of information overload requiring new ways of managing and making sense of them. Research, both qualitative and quantitative, is costly, and lean financial resources have made it imperative to make the most and best use of findings. A number of professional practice sectors including health care, education and social work have encountered a rise in the number and urgency of calls for accountability. Stakeholders want to know that efforts to develop new practices and programmes are effective. Calls for evidence-based practice and policy have also been on the rise, bringing current research practices into question. The underlying notion for such calls is that research should be brought closer to those who are in decision-making roles and further that research should come before an intervention or change in practice or policy (Pawson, 2002). The bottom line is that stakeholders want transparent processes, clear synthesized findings and solid recommendations for both practice and research as a result of the findings.