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Table 1 Six principles guiding meta-narrative reviewa

From: Evaluating complex interventions in context: systematic, meta-narrative review of case study approaches

Principle Definition How we addressed this in the study
Pragmatism Be guided by what will be most useful to the intended audience Explicit orientation to MRC stated focus to develop guidance on how to study complex interventions and context using case study methodology
Pluralism Illuminate the topic from multiple angles Wide inclusion criteria intended to capture all relevant studies that can be broadly defined as ‘case study’
Historicity Capture how research traditions have unfolded over time Consider how later studies drew on, and built on, earlier studies within a tradition, with particular focus on ‘seminal’ (well-regarded, highly-cited) early papers in each tradition
Contestation Examine ‘conflicting’ data across traditions to generate higher-order insights Identification and exploration of higher order ‘narrative threads’ (e.g. about what a case study is) being exchanged, contrasting or bridging across the different traditions
Reflexivity Continually reflect on emerging findings as the review progresses Regular meetings between team members to share findings and discuss interpretations, including reflecting on how best to produce a useful set of guidance
Peer-review Present emerging findings to an external audience and use their feedback to guide further reflection and analysis Delphi panel (currently ongoing) where the findings of this review are presented to a panel of 35 scholars and practitioners for individual scoring, free-text feedback and structured discussion; conference presentations; pilot testing of guidance and meta-narrative review with researchers who have published case studies
  1. a Adapted from Wong et al. [37]