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Meta-Analysis

  • By: Seth M. Noar
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Cumulative knowledge is one of the cornerstones of science, and yet when numerous studies are undertaken over time, often with different populations, measures, and study designs, it can be difficult to assess what is known. Meta-analysis is a quantitative technique used to synthesize research findings in a given body of literature, providing a clear and objective synthesis of a body of research findings. This entry discusses the limitations of traditional narrative reviews; describes meta-analysis, its history, and why it is superior to narrative reviews; lists the steps undertaken in a meta-analysis; and provides examples of applications of meta-analysis in health communication.

Traditionally, the narrative review was the method used to summarize a body of literature. Such reviews are undertaken by gathering many articles in a field ...

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