Medicine, Mind and Adolescence 1999, XIV, 1-2
THE PROMISE, PROCEDURES, AND PROBLEMS OF META-ANALYSIS
This article addresses several areas of controversy in meta-analysis
and examines some of the key criticisms of it. The promise of meta-analysis
is discussed including it’s history and benefits over the traditional
literature review. Procedures of meta-analysis are outlined according
to five stages and the major methodological controversies are identified.
Finally, the key problems associated with meta-analysis are examined.
In general meta-analysis appears to have the potential of bringing increased
rigor, objectivity, precision, and replicability to the research enterprise.
Nevertheless, the procedures of meta-analysis require that the meta-analyst
make many crucial judgements throughout. Meta-analysts have made strides
in addressing the problems and criticisms associated with meta-analytic
techniques and procedures but the methodology is still young and the consequences
of many of the judgement calls remain unknown. Given the unabating popularity
of meta-analysis as well as the sustained need for research synthesis,
continued methodological advances should keep this technique vibrant.
Key Words: Meta-analysis, Premises, Procedures, Benefits, Problems.
1. Correspondence to: Colin Comfort, Division of Applied Psychology, University
of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada, T2N 1N4.