1) Getting started―identifying the topic of the study and defining the aim.
2) Deciding what is relevant to the initial interest―including relevant studies, describing search strategy and criteria for inclusion and exclusion.
3) Reading the studies―repeated reading of studies noting their interpretative metaphors.
4) Determining how the studies are related―determining the relationship between the studies. This phase starts with the creation of a list of key metaphors (themes, concepts, phrases, ideas) and ends with an initial assumption that their relationship is reciprocal (findings across studies are comparable), refutational (findings stand in opposition to each other) or representative of a line of argument.
5) Translating the studies into one another―comparing metaphors and their interactions within single studies and across studies, while at the same time protecting uniqueness and holism.
6) Synthesizing translations―creating a new whole from the sum of the parts, enabling a second level of synthesis.
7) Expressing the synthesis―finding the appropriate form to effectively communicate the synthesis to the audience.