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Publication Detail
Ongoing developments in meta-analytic and quantitative synthesis methods: Broadening the types of research questions that can be addressed
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    O'Mara-Eves A, Thomas J
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    5, 27
  • Journal:
    Review of Education
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Status:
  • Print ISSN:
  • Language:
  • Notes:
    Copyright © 2016 British Educational Research Association. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: [O'Mara-Eves, A. and Thomas, J. (2016), Ongoing developments in meta-analytic and quantitative synthesis methods: Broadening the types of research questions that can be addressed. Review of Education, 4: 5–27. doi: 10.1002/rev3.3062], which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/rev3.3062. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
The purpose of this paper is to outline ongoing developments in meta-analytic methods and quantitative approaches to synthesising evidence. We discuss the increased awareness by meta-analysts of the need for methods which better grapple with complex social contexts, and meta-analysts’ responses to the increasing informational needs of review audiences by developing methods are that are more fit for purpose and fit for use than their predecessors. Models of meta-analysis that we cover include both aggregative (e.g., classical meta-analysis) and configurative approaches (including subgroup analyses, meta-regression and multilevel analyses, multiple outcome analyses, and network meta-analysis). We then consider the role of additional data sources and multi-method approaches to synthesis by focusing on mixed methods synthesis, the use of largescale datasets and individual participant data, and qualitative comparative analysis. We highlight key issues for meta-analysis in educational research (publication bias and interpreting meta-analytic results). We end with reflections on the relation between meta-analytic methods and theory, and a discussion of how meta-analysis in education can move forward. Throughout, we place a particular emphasis on the importance of using a method that is appropriate for the research question, and how emerging methods allow us to address a broader range of research questions.
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