Meta-analysis is a systematic method for synthesizing quantitative results of different empirical studies regarding the effect of an independent variable (or determinant, or intervention, or treatment) on a defined outcome (or dependent variable). Mainly developed in medical and psychological research as a tool for synthesizing empirical information about the outcomes of a treatment, meta-analysis is now increasingly used in the social sciences as a tool for hypothesis testing. However, the assumptions underlying meta-analytic hypothesis testing in the social sciences will usually not be met under real-life conditions. This is the reason why meta-analysis is increasingly conducted with a different aim, based on more realistic assumptions. That aim is to explore the dispersion of effect sizes.

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Note Version 1.0 was published March 2016.
Hak, A, van Rhee, H.J, & Suurmond, R. (2018). How to interpret results of meta-analysis (Version 1.3). Retrieved from