Knowledge synthesis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Over the last 20 years, the volume of publications on topics in health professions education (HPE) has increased dramatically. To help the HPE community integrate some of these multiple studies, researchers are increasingly creating, consuming, and citing knowledge syntheses. This chapter defines and describes the characteristics of a knowledge synthesis. It situates knowledge syntheses in the context of HPE, including a discussion of how they may be used and the five types of knowledge syntheses that are prevalent in, or appropriate for use by, those in HPE. These are narrative reviews, systematic reviews, umbrella reviews (aka meta-syntheses), scoping reviews, and realist reviews. The chapter outlines a seven-step process for those seeking to undertake knowledge syntheses. They are defining a focused research question, determining knowledge synthesis type, recruiting the research team, identifying materials for inclusion, extracting key data, analyzing and synthesizing results, and reporting. Lastly, the chapter explores the available training for knowledge syntheses in HPE.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnderstanding Medical Education
Subtitle of host publicationEvidence, Theory, and Practice
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781119373780
ISBN (Print)9781119373827
StatePublished - 5 Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Health professions education
  • Knowledge syntheses
  • Narrative reviews
  • Realist reviews
  • Scoping reviews
  • Systematic reviews
  • Umbrella reviews


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