Working as a Research Team to Craft a Meta-Ethnography

Research syntheses are often collaborative endeavors (Lee, Hart, Watson, & Rapley, 2015). Indeed, in our review of research syntheses in literacy studies, 97 of the 144 published syntheses were conducted by collaborative teams of scholars. Notable, most of the sole-authored reviews were published before 2000 when bodies of scholarship were smaller and fewer journals were operating. Furthermore, only 18 of the 47 sole-authored syntheses were published in the current century. Our work is no exception and conducting our meta-synthesis entailed joint reading and discussion, collaborative dialogue and analysis, creation of composite documents, and more. We have many artifacts from this collaborative activity. For example, as we commenced our analysis, each member of the research synthesis team reviewed three studies including (Purcell-Gates, 1996) using our recently refined analytic review template. We ultimately created a composite document for each study that combined our individual ART responses (see Table 5.2).

Becky

Calliy

Tisha

Is this

qualitative

research?

Yes, Purcell Gates describes it as a

descriptive study (p. 410).“The design of the study is best termed descriptive because the field researchers were instructed to focus exclusively on literacy events occurring in the home.”

Yes. It is described as a “descriptive study” (p. 410).

Yes.

What is the purpose of the study?

“The present study was designed to

provide the piece of the picture missing from Purcell-Gates & Dahl (1991) and Taylor & Dorsey-Gaines (1988) and Teale & Sulzby (1986) studies: the relationships between types of home literacy practices and the different written language knowledges brought to school by young children” (p. 409).

“The purpose of this study was to document and describe the ways in which print is used in the homes of low-income U.S. families and to explore the relationships between these uses of print and the emergent literacy knowledges held by the young children in these homes” (p. 406).

“The purpose of this study was to document and describe the ways in which print is used in the homes of low-income U.S. families and to explore the relationships between these uses of print and the emergent literacy knowledges held by the young children in these homes” (p. 406).

What

theoretical perspective was used?

Literacy learning as a situated, cultural practice (Gee, Bakhtin,Vygotsky).

“The situated, dialogic nature of language learning implies that literacy needs to be viewed as a cultural practice (Gee, 1992) and that literacy development occurs wherever literacy practices are occurring” (p. 406).

“Theory of language learning resulting from a construction of knowledge within instances of situated dialogue” (p. 406).

While conducting a meta-ethnography had been our goal since we met in 2004 in St. Louis, we discovered the need to first conduct a more traditional review of family literacy studies to gain a better understanding of the field. As part of that critical integrative review (described in Chapter 4), we hand-searched family literacy studies to identify the most cited scholars in the field and comment on how family literacy scholars attended to diversity.

When we eventually turned our attention back to our original goal of conducting a meta-ethnography, we began by re-reading Noblit and Hare’s (1988) monograph: Meta-Ethnography: Synthesizing Qualitative Studies. In addition to using their procedures, we drew important conceptual understandings from this classic text that greatly informed how we conducted our meta-ethnography.

 
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