Ethical Issues in the Conduct and Reporting of Meta-Analysis

Authored by: Harris Cooper , Amy Dent

Handbook of Ethics in Quantitative Methodology

Print publication date:  January  2011
Online publication date:  March  2011

Print ISBN: 9781848728547
eBook ISBN: 9780203840023
Adobe ISBN: 9781136888731


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A research synthesis focuses on empirical studies and attempts to summarize past research by drawing overall conclusions from separate studies that address the same or related hypotheses. The research synthesist’s goal is “to present the state of knowledge concerning the relation(s) of interest and to highlight important issues that research has left unresolved” (Cooper, 2010, p. 4). Meta-analysis is a type of research synthesis. It involves the statistical integration of data from separate but similar studies typically using the summary statistics presented in research reports. Meta-analysts (a) systematically collect as many published and unpublished reports addressing a topic as possible, (b) extract effect sizes from the reports, (c) statistically combine the effect sizes to obtain an estimate of the average effect size and the associated confidence interval, and (d) examine sample and study features that might influence study outcomes.

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