Meta-analysis is a set of techniques for collecting data from multiple research studies and applying specialized statistical analyses that synthesize findings across studies. In contrast to primary research studies that may use individual humans or groups of humans as the unit of analysis, the primary studies themselves are the unit of analysis in a meta-analysis. Meta-analysis is a form of literature review, and its goal is to provide a summary of existing research. Unlike a narrative literature review, however, meta-analysis uses statistical techniques to summarize the empirical findings of the studies included in the review, and for this reason, it is sometimes referred to as a quantitative literature review. This entry offers an orientation to meta-analysis, with a particular focus on why it is a ...

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