Employing meta-ethnography in the analysis of qualitative data sets on youth activism: a new tool for transnational research projects?

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle


This article outlines a novel application of meta-ethnographic synthesis in the analysis of multiple ethnographic case studies of youth activism emanating from a large transnational European research project. Although meta-ethnography is used increasingly as an alternative to systematic review for the synthesis of published qualitative studies, it is not widely applied to the synthesis of primary data. This article suggests such a use is not precluded epistemologically and potentially addresses a growing need as ethnography itself becomes increasingly ‘multi-sited’. The article outlines the practical process of adapting meta-ethnography to primary data analysis drawing on the synthesis of 44 ethnographic cases of youth activism and provides a worked example of the translation of cases and resulting ‘line of argument’. It discusses the challenges and limitations of the approach in particular the danger that, in extracting the general from the specific, the key quality of qualitative data - individual differentiation – is diminished.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalQualitative Research -Online First
Early online date29 May 2017
StatePublished - 2017