Meta-Analysis and Cumulative Knowledge

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1993, Vol 38(11), 1163–1165. Reviews the book, Meta-Analysis for Explanation: A Casebook by Thomas D. Cook, Harris Cooper, David S. Cordray, Heidi Hartmann, Larry V. Hedges, Richard J. Light, Thomas A. Louis, and Frederick Mosteller (1992). This is an important book. It is part of an epistemological revolution that is taking place today in psychology, the social sciences, medicine, and many other areas. At the time of its inception in the late 1970s, meta-analysis was viewed essentially as a new, more quantitative method of conducting literature reviews. But events since then have revealed that it is much more than that (Schmidt, 1992). This book is another step in the continuing exploration of the wider implications and powers of meta-analytic methods. The fundamental idea is that meta-analysis can go beyond just quantitatively clarifying and summarizing relationships between variables and constructs in a research literature, it can be used to test hypotheses, theories, and conceptual explanations for the broad pattern of relationships established by meta-analysis in a given research area. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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