A qualitative meta-analysis methodology is a coherent approach to analyzing data drawn from various qualitative studies. It can also be defined as an interpretive analytical technique that pools qualitative data reported in other studies as building blocks for understanding a certain phenomenon. Qualitative studies available in literature play an important role by helping researchers in developing “broad-based theoretical understandings, cataloging sets of findings, developing measures, conducting comprehensive assessments of the state of a body of literature, forming principles to guide in-session practice, or examining the methods and methodologies employed within a field” (Levitt, 2018, p. 367). Therefore, researchers have cited different reasons why qualitative meta-analysis is one of the preferred methods of researching as compared to other methodologies, such as randomized controlled trials (RCTs). The purpose of this paper is to justify why a qualitative meta-analysis methodology is a good choice for a nephrostomy catheter usage study.
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In a bid to understand why qualitative meta-analysis is a good methodology to be applied in a nephrostomy catheter study, it is important to understand how it is conducted. Normally, a meta-analysis, whether qualitative or quantitative, is preceded by a systematic review to identify and critically appraise all the available and relevant data to avoid bias. The first step would be to formulate a PICOT (population, intervention, comparison, outcome, and time) based on the utilization of a nephrostomy catheter for renal compromised patients. The second step would involve searching for the available literature based on the PICOT question. The relevant qualitative articles generated from the literature search would then be used to conduct the meta-analysis thorough thematic analysis. According to Squires and Dorsen (2018), thematic analysis involves different processes including reading texts and refining the results into specified themes. In qualitative studies, themes allow researchers to understand the aggregated meaning of different texts.
Therefore, when conducting a study on the utilization of a nephrostomy catheter for renal compromised patients, researchers would generate numerous articles related to this topic. These articles would be analyzed through the descriptive-interpretive approach to categorize data into themes. Qualitative meta-analysis is a good methodological approach to this topic because the large number of articles included in the study allows researchers to capture small to moderate benefits associated with the usage of nephrostomy catheters in renal compromised patients. In addition, large treatment benefits could be identified more accurately using this methodology. The many articles used in this case will have different results, and when they are classified based on identified domains and themes, researchers can easily conclude the utilization of nephrostomy catheters in renal compromised patients.
Therefore, results can be generalized or extrapolated into other larger patient populations in different set-ups. In addition, using this approach, researchers increase the number of observations to improve the precision and accuracy of estimates of the effect size of an intervention. Moreover, the generalizability of the conclusions drawn from the articles can be assessed to understand the extent to which nephrostomy catheter usage in renal compromised patients can be applied in other sub-populations. Variability between trials or studies can also be assessed to resolve uncertainties where results disagree. A qualitative meta-analysis will also help researchers to identify the need and plan for larger trials or studies. Moreover, this form of analysis can be used to answer questions not addressed in individual studies. In other words, qualitative meta-analysis methodology will assist researchers to gather more and useful information about the utilization of nephrostomy catheters among renal compromised patients as compared to conducting individual studies, such as RCTs. When conducting this form of study, researchers can combine aggregate patient data (APD) with individual patient data (IPD). Using APD, researchers can pool together study-specific treatment effects of using a nephrostomy catheter, assess and evaluate heterogeneity, and estimate a summary effect size.
Similarly, using IPD, researchers can conduct sub-group analyses on patient-specific data from large populations of patients; hence, the themes generated from such information can be a reflection of the usage of nephrostomy catheters. Another advantage of using qualitative meta-analysis in this form of study is that updated or recent data can be used to reflect current trends in the usage of such catheters. During the data mining procedures through a literature search, the inclusion criteria can be designed to allow articles published within a certain timeframe. Therefore, using a qualitative meta-analysis methodology is a good choice to be applied in a study dealing with the utilization of nephrostomy catheters for renal compromised patients due to the many advantages listed under this section.
However, qualitative meta-analysis methods have inherent limitations and weaknesses that can affect the accuracy and reliability of a study. Nevertheless, different strategies can be used to address these problems. The major drawback associated with qualitative studies is bias, especially when deriving generalizations from studies conducted within different contexts. For instance, the effectiveness of nephrostomy catheter usage in renal compromised patients is subject to various factors including the competence of the care workers involved, staffing needs, and the overall quality of care offered in the specific healthcare facilities where the studies were conducted. Therefore, generalizing heavily context-dependent studies might be problematic. However, this problem can be addressed by achieving thematic saturation during qualitative meta-analysis. According to Saunders et al. (2018), every qualitative meta-analysis should endeavor to achieve thematic saturation, which occurs when no new themes can be identified in the data.
Coding saturation can also be considered and it occurs when no new codes are generated during analysis (MacPhail, Khoza, Abler, & Ranganathan, 2015). In addition, researchers can use clearly defined inclusion-exclusion criteria in selecting articles for the stud. In this case, the primary research could be limited to articles that have been peer-reviewed as a quality control strategy to avoid vague data. Therefore, with these approaches, the inherent weakness of bias that is associated with qualitative meta-analysis can be overcome to make it a suitable choice in a study on the utilization of nephrostomy catheters for renal compromised patients.
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A qualitative meta-analysis methodology is a useful tool that researchers use to analyze data from different sources and draw themes to addresses a given phenomenon. This paper has shown why such a methodology would be a good choice to be applied in a study on the utilization of nephrostomy catheters for renal compromised patients. This approach would allow researchers to gather a wide range of data to understand the topic within the selected context. The large number of articles that will be used in this kind of study will capture small, moderate, and huge benefits associated with the usage of catheters in renal compromised patients. However, qualitative meta-analysis has inherent weaknesses, which can be addressed through data saturation as discussed in this paper.
Levitt, H. M. (2018). How to conduct a qualitative meta-analysis: Tailoring methods to enhance methodological integrity. Psychotherapy Research, 28(3), 367-378. Web.
MacPhail, C., Khoza, N., Abler, L., and Ranganathan, M. (2015). Process guidelines for establishing intercoder reliability in qualitative studies. Qualitative Research, 16(2), 198-212. Web.
Saunders, B., Sim, J., Kingstone, T., Baker, S., Waterfield, J., Bartlam, B., & Jinks, C. (2018). Saturation in qualitative research: Exploring its conceptualization and operationalization. Quality & Quantity, 52(4), 1893 -1907. Web.
Squires, A., & Dorsen, C. (2018). Qualitative research in nursing and health professions regulation. Journal of Nursing Regulation, 9(3),15-26. Web.