Table 1

Summary table

Idealist

Realist


Searching

Iterative

Linear

Quality assessment

Less clear, less a priori; quality of content rather than method

Clear and a priori

Problematizing the literature

Yes

No

Question

Explore

Answer

Heterogeneity

Lots

Little

Synthetic product

Complex

Clear for policy makers and practitioners


N.B.: In terms of the above dimensions, it is generally a question of degree rather than of absolute distinctions.

Barnett-Page and Thomas BMC Medical Research Methodology 2009 9:59   doi:10.1186/1471-2288-9-59

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