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Using qualitative research synthesis to build an actionable knowledge base

David Denyer (Centre for Management Knowledge and Strategic Change, Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield University, Cranfield, UK)
David Tranfield (Centre for Management Knowledge and Strategic Change, Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield University, Cranfield, UK)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 1 February 2006

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7840

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to address the qualitative synthesis and use of existing management research to inform management practice.

Design/methodology/approach

Three methods of qualitative synthesis, each with contrasting methodologies, are presented and their potential contribution in the management field explored.

Findings

Professional practice could be improved if practitioners had better access to the products of a large body of management research. Evidence‐based reviews of the literature in the management field could form a crucial bridge between research and practice. The task of reviewing and synthesising qualitative studies comprises a key challenge.

Research limitations/implications

The key issues in conducting qualitative synthesis are highlighted and the barriers and enablers to the application of the product of qualitative synthesis in practice are discussed.

Originality/value

The paper stimulates debate about what counts as an effective synthesis of qualitative research and highlights the growing array of approaches. In so doing the paper presents new models for the production of evidence‐based reviews.

Keywords

Citation

Denyer, D. and Tranfield, D. (2006), "Using qualitative research synthesis to build an actionable knowledge base", Management Decision, Vol. 44 No. 2, pp. 213-227. https://doi.org/10.1108/00251740610650201

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited