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Reviewing the research methods literature: principles and strategies illustrated by a systematic overview of sampling in qualitative research

Overview of attention for article published in Systematic Reviews, October 2016
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  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (85th percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (68th percentile)

Mentioned by

blogs
1 blog
twitter
9 tweeters

Citations

dimensions_citation
40 Dimensions

Readers on

mendeley
252 Mendeley
citeulike
3 CiteULike
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Title
Reviewing the research methods literature: principles and strategies illustrated by a systematic overview of sampling in qualitative research
Published in
Systematic Reviews, October 2016
DOI 10.1186/s13643-016-0343-0
Pubmed ID
Authors

Stephen J. Gentles, Cathy Charles, David B. Nicholas, Jenny Ploeg, K. Ann McKibbon

Abstract

Overviews of methods are potentially useful means to increase clarity and enhance collective understanding of specific methods topics that may be characterized by ambiguity, inconsistency, or a lack of comprehensiveness. This type of review represents a distinct literature synthesis method, although to date, its methodology remains relatively undeveloped despite several aspects that demand unique review procedures. The purpose of this paper is to initiate discussion about what a rigorous systematic approach to reviews of methods, referred to here as systematic methods overviews, might look like by providing tentative suggestions for approaching specific challenges likely to be encountered. The guidance offered here was derived from experience conducting a systematic methods overview on the topic of sampling in qualitative research. The guidance is organized into several principles that highlight specific objectives for this type of review given the common challenges that must be overcome to achieve them. Optional strategies for achieving each principle are also proposed, along with discussion of how they were successfully implemented in the overview on sampling. We describe seven paired principles and strategies that address the following aspects: delimiting the initial set of publications to consider, searching beyond standard bibliographic databases, searching without the availability of relevant metadata, selecting publications on purposeful conceptual grounds, defining concepts and other information to abstract iteratively, accounting for inconsistent terminology used to describe specific methods topics, and generating rigorous verifiable analytic interpretations. Since a broad aim in systematic methods overviews is to describe and interpret the relevant literature in qualitative terms, we suggest that iterative decision making at various stages of the review process, and a rigorous qualitative approach to analysis are necessary features of this review type. We believe that the principles and strategies provided here will be useful to anyone choosing to undertake a systematic methods overview. This paper represents an initial effort to promote high quality critical evaluations of the literature regarding problematic methods topics, which have the potential to promote clearer, shared understandings, and accelerate advances in research methods. Further work is warranted to develop more definitive guidance.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 9 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 252 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Norway 1 <1%
South Africa 1 <1%
Unknown 250 99%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 42 17%
Student > Ph. D. Student 39 15%
Researcher 28 11%
Student > Doctoral Student 23 9%
Student > Bachelor 21 8%
Other 49 19%
Unknown 50 20%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Business, Management and Accounting 29 12%
Social Sciences 28 11%
Nursing and Health Professions 26 10%
Medicine and Dentistry 24 10%
Engineering 13 5%
Other 72 29%
Unknown 60 24%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 13. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 20 November 2016.
All research outputs
#1,474,245
of 15,045,928 outputs
Outputs from Systematic Reviews
#311
of 1,320 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#38,011
of 269,585 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Systematic Reviews
#8
of 25 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 15,045,928 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 90th percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 1,320 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 12.6. This one has done well, scoring higher than 76% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 269,585 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done well, scoring higher than 85% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 25 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 68% of its contemporaries.