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Handbook of Research Synthesis, The

Harris Cooper, Larry V. Hedges

Publication Year: 1993

The Handbook of Research Synthesis is the definitive reference and how-to manual for behavioral and medical scientists applying the craft of research synthesis. It draws upon twenty years of ground-breaking advances that have transformed the practice of synthesizing research literature from an art into a scientific process in its own right. Editors Harris Cooper and Larry V. Hedges have brought together leading authorities to guide the reader through every stage of the research synthesis process—problem formulation, literature search and evaluation, statistical integration, and report preparation. The Handbook of Research Synthesis incorporates in a single volume state-of-the-art techniques from all quantitative synthesis traditions, including Bayesian inference and the meta-analytic approaches. Distilling a vast technical literature and many informal sources, the Handbook provides a portfolio of the most effective solutions to problems of quantitative data integration. The Handbook of Research Synthesis also provides a rich treatment of the non-statistical aspects of research synthesis. Topics include searching the literature, managing reference databases and registries, and developing coding schemes. Those engaged in research synthesis will also find useful advice on how tables, graphs, and narration can be deployed to provide the most meaningful communication of the results of research synthesis. The Handbook of Research Synthesis is an illuminating compilation of practical instruction, theory, and problem solving. It provides an accumulation of knowledge about the craft of reviewing a scientific literature that can be found in no other single source. The Handbook offers the reader thorough instruction in the skills necessary to conduct powerful research syntheses meeting the highest standards of objectivity, systematicity, and rigor demanded of scientific enquiry. This definitive work will represent the state of the art in research synthesis for years to come.

Published by: Russell Sage Foundation

Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. vii-ix

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Foreword

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pp. xi-xiv

The Handbook of Research Synthesis is an attempt to bring together in a single volume state-of-the-art descriptions of every phase of the research synthesis process, from problem formulation...

Contributors

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pp. xv-xvi

Part I: Introduction

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pp. 1-14

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1. Research Synthesis as a Scientific Enterprise

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pp. 3-14

From the moment we are introduced to science we are told it is a cooperative, cumulative enterprise. Like the artisans who construct a building from blueprints, bricks, and mortar...

Part II: Formulating a Problem for a Research Synthesis

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pp. 15-38

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2. Hypotheses and Problems in Research Synthesis

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pp. 17-28

In the social, behavioral, and medical sciences, investigators wish to strengthen their methods of accumulating evidence. They have been dissatisfied with the classical literature review...

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3. Statistical Considerations

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pp. 29-38

Research synthesis is an empirical process. As with any empirical research, statistical considerations have an influence at many points in the process. Some of these considerations...

Part III: Searching the Literature

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pp. 39-94

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4. Scientific Communication and Literature Retrieval

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pp. 41-55

An essential aspect Of science is communication of findings (Ziman 1968). Following analysts such as Ackoff et al. (1976), we can conveniently divide scientific communication...

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5. Using Reference Databases

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pp. 57-70

The objective of this chapter is to introduce literature search sources and methods that will be of use to the research synthesist. Our focus is on machine-readable databases...

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6. Research Registers

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pp. 71-83

Research synthesis would be a far easier task if there were registers of all initiated research projects. A research register can be defined as a database of research studies...

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7. The Fugitive Literature

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pp. 85-94

This chapter describes methods of retrieving hard-to-find ("fugitive") literature and information on particular areas of research. The elusive information may be about a research report...

Part IV: Evaluating the Literature

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pp. 95-189

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8. Judging Research Quality

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pp. 97-109

The discussion about judging research quality in synthesis dates to Glass's unveiling of "meta-analysis" in the November 1976 issue of the Educational Researcher (Glass 1976). Prior...

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9. Identifying Potentially Interesting Variables and Analysis Opportunities

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pp. 111-123

Research synthesis relies on information that is reported in a selection of studies on a topic of interest. The purpose of this chapter is to review the types of variables often available...

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10. Systematic Coding for Research Synthesis

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pp. 125-138

Research synthesists must make many decisions before the actual coding of studies begins: They must choose the study characteristics of interest, and conventions for coding them...

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11. Evaluating Coding Decisions

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pp. 139-162

Coding is a critical part of research synthesis. It represents an attempt to reduce a complex, messy, context-laden, and quantification-resistant reality to a matrix of numbers. Thus, it will...

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12. Methods for Handling Missing Data in Research Synthesis

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pp. 163-175

Previous chapters of this volume have outlined how to define a research question for a research synthesis, develop a comprehensive search for literature, obtain a representative sample...

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13. Managing Meta-Analytic Databases

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pp. 177-189

This chapter addresses topics of interest to specialists who may be involved in collecting and processing data in research syntheses: data coders, data entry personnel, statisticians...

Part V: Statistically Describing and Combining Studies

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pp. 191-281

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14. Vote-Counting Procedures in Meta-Analysis

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pp. 193-213

The meta-analyst generally has access to at least one of three types of data from research reports: (a) information that can be used to calculate effect size estimates (e.g., means...

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15. Combining Significance Levels

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pp. 215-230

This chapter discusses methods for combining probability values (or significance levels) from independent significance tests. These "combined significance" methods have a long...

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16. Parametric Measures of Effect Size

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pp. 231-244

The heart of the enterprise of synthesizing research consists of comparing and combining the results of individual studies of a particular, focused research question...

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17. Measures of Effect Size for Categorical Data

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pp. 245-260

In many studies measurements are made on binary rather than numerical scales. Examples include studies of attitudes or opinions (the two categories for the response variable being...

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18. Combining Estimates of Effect Size

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pp. 261-281

In 1896, Sir Almroth Wright developed a vaccine to protect against typhoid (Susser 1977; Wright, incidentally, was a colleague and mentor of Sir Alexander Fleming, who later discovered...

Part VI: Statistically Analyzing Effect Sizes

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pp. 283-336

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19. Fixed Effects Models

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pp. 285-299

A central question in research synthesis is whether methodological, contextual, or substantive variations in research studies are related to variations in effect size parameters. Both fixed...

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20. Random Effects Models

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pp. 301-321

A skilled researcher who wishes to assess the generalizability of findings from a single study will try to select a sample that represents the target population. The researcher...

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21. Correcting for Sources of Artificial Variation Across Studies

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pp. 323-336

Every study has imperfections. In some cases we can define precisely what a perfect study might be, and thus we can say that the effect size value obtained from any real study...

Part VII: Special Statistical Issues and Problems

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pp. 337-422

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22. Stochastically Dependent Effect Sizes

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pp. 339-355

Much of the literature on meta-analysis deals with analyzing effect sizes obtained from k independent studies in each of which a single treatment is compared with a control...

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23. Examining Explanatory Models Through Research Synthesis

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pp. 357-381

This chapter describes a way to bring substantive theory directly into the process of research synthesis, something that critics of quantitative research synthesis have claimed is missing...

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24. Sensitivity Analysis and Diagnostics

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pp. 383-398

At every step in a research synthesis decisions are made that can affect the conclusions and inferences drawn from the analysis. Sometimes, a decision is easy to defend...

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25. Publication Bias

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pp. 399-409

The style of reporting the results of a research study in a journal article is governed as much by human nature as by the tradition of scientific objectivity. That is, research studies...

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26. Bayesian Approaches to Research Synthesis

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pp. 411-422

As in other scientific studies, efficient design, conduct, and analysis of a research synthesis requires that investigators use expert opinion and empirical evidence from previous...

Part VIII: Reporting the Results of Research Synthesis

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pp. 423-453

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27. The Reporting Format

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pp. 425-437

Several articles examining the quality of published research syntheses or meta-analyses have appeared in journals in both the behavioral sciences and medicine...

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28. The Visual Presentation and Interpretation of Meta-Analyses

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pp. 439-453

A large proportion of meta-analyses in education and the social sciences, including many that we consider excellent, pose a surprising challenge. The reader must struggle to figure...

Part IX: Tying Research Synthesis to Substantive Issues

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pp. 455-500

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29. Meta-Analytic Synthesis for Theory Development

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pp. 457-483

In this chapter we contend that some of the features of meta-analysis make it superior to individual studies for testing and formulating theories. In section 2 we discuss the ambiguous...

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30. Using Research Syntheses to Plan Future Research

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pp. 485-500

A quantitative synthesis of research is typically not an endpoint or final step in the investigation of a research topic. A formal synthesis rarely offers an integration that is conclusive...

Part X: Summary

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pp. 501-529

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31. Threats to the Validity of Research Syntheses

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pp. 503-520

Although the list of validity threats we present is relevant to research synthesis practice, it is not definitive. All threats are empirical products. Any list of threats should change as theories...

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32. Potentials and Limitations of Research Synthesis

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pp. 521-529

We suspect that readers of this volume reacted to it in one of two distinct ways: They may have been overwhelmed by the number and complexity of the issues that face...

Glossary

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pp. 531-542

Appendix A: Data Sets

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pp. 543-547

Appendix B: Tables

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pp. 549-552

Index

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pp. 553-573


E-ISBN-13: 9781610441377
Print-ISBN-13: 9780871542267
Print-ISBN-10: 0871542269

Page Count: 592
Publication Year: 1993

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Subject Headings

  • Research -- Statistical methods -- Handbooks, manuals, etc.
  • Information storage and retrieval systems -- Research -- Handbooks, manuals, etc.
  • Research -- Methodology -- Handbooks, manuals, etc.
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