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Table 3 Overview of the activities, analytical process and use of candidate theories according to the two stages of the analysis and synthesis process

From: Understanding the performance of community health volunteers involved in the delivery of health programmes in underserved areas: a realist synthesis

Stage of the analysis and synthesis Activities Analytical process Use of candidate theories
Evidence drawn from each primary study Identification of the link between context, mechanism and outcomes
Specification of CMO(s) configuration
Mix of abductive and retroductive reasoning
Constant comparative analysis
To guide the analytical process
Synthesis of data within or across primary studies Identification of potential explanatory patterns Juxtaposition, reconciling, adjudication, consolidation of sources of evidence
Situating sources of evidences
To explain at a higher level the explanatory patterns that emerged across the studies