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Table 1 Selected QES approaches [16, 42, 43, 67, 89]

From: Systematic reviews of qualitative evidence for environmental policy and management: an overview of different methodological options

Approach Epistemology Purpose/research problem Type of evidence Review question Samplinga Key readings
Framework synthesis Realist Adapts and/or develops a pre-existing theoretical framework Qualitative/mixed Fixed Comprehensive Oliver et al. [51], Brunton et al. [90]
Thematic synthesis Realist/Idealist Develops new explanatory theories and/or conceptualisations Qualitative Fixed Comprehensive Thomas and Harden [56]
Meta-ethnography Idealist Develops new explanatory theories and/or conceptualisations Qualitative Emerging Purposive Noblit and Hare [59], Britten et al. [60]
Critical interpretive synthesis Idealist Develops new explanatory theories and/or conceptualisations Qualitative/quantitative/mixed Fixed Purposive Dixon-Woods et al. [64]
Realist synthesis Realist Explores the mechanisms which cause interventions to result in specific outcomes in specified contexts Qualitative/quantitative/mixed Fixed Purposive Pawson [69]
  1. aBecause of the prevalent risk-of-bias discourse in the 'evidence-based movement', reviewers have been more inclined to work with comprehensive samples to avoid selection bias, although this is not so relevant for QES [69]. As a result, there are examples of meta-ethnographies that adopted comprehensive sampling approach