A2 Review article, Literature review, Systematic review
Meta-Study (2022)

Ronkainen, N., Wiltshire, G., & Willis, M. (2022). Meta-Study. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 15(1), 226-241. https://doi.org/10.1080/1750984x.2021.1931941

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsRonkainen, Noora; Wiltshire, Gareth; Willis, Martin

Journal or seriesInternational Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology



Publication year2022

Publication date27/05/2021


Issue number1

Pages range226-241


Publication countryUnited Kingdom

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessPartially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/76136


Meta-study is a method for analysing the content and the process of knowledge production in a body of qualitative research. Conducting a meta-study involves four steps: (1) meta-data-analysis which involves the study of empirical findings; (2) meta-method which examines the epistemological soundness and rigour of methods; (3) meta-theory which examines the structures, assumptions, and principles underpinning the primary research studies; and (4) meta-synthesis which brings the three steps together and considers the plausibility of existing accounts, what has been neglected, and what new avenues have been opened for advancing knowledge. Qualitative researchers in sport and exercise psychology (SEP) have recently started using meta-study to examine bodies of qualitative research in various areas including positive youth development, junior-to-senior transition, athletic identity and mental toughness development. Our review shows that meta-study has been a useful method for demonstrating how methodological developments have influenced how qualitative researchers apply methods and conceptualise the phenomena of interest. However, there have been diverse applications of meta-study and, in the absence of recent updates on the method, meta-study is in danger of remaining underdeveloped or becoming outdated. Based on the review, we outline guidelines for SEP scholars to employ meta-study rigorously.

Keywordssport psychologymethodologyresearch methodsqualitative researchmeta-analysissynthesisvaliditytheory of knowledge

Free keywordsepistemology; methodology; validity; synthesis; qualitative research

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2022

JUFO rating2

Last updated on 2024-03-04 at 20:17