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Handbook of Meta-analysis in Ecology and Evolution$
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Julia Koricheva, Jessica Gurevitch, and Kerrie Mengersen

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691137285

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691137285.001.0001

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date: 13 December 2017

Role of Meta-analysis in Interpreting the Scientific Literature

Role of Meta-analysis in Interpreting the Scientific Literature

Chapter:
(p.364) 23 Role of Meta-analysis in Interpreting the Scientific Literature
Source:
Handbook of Meta-analysis in Ecology and Evolution
Author(s):

Michael D. Jennions

Christopher J. Lortie

Julia Koricheva

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691137285.003.0023

This chapter begins with a brief review of why effect sizes and their variances are more informative than P-values. It then discusses how meta-analysis promotes “effective thinking” that can change approaches to several commonplace problems. Specifically, it addresses the issues of (1) exemplar studies versus average trends, (2) resolving “conflict” between specific studies, (3) presenting results, (4) deciding on the level at which to replicate studies, (5) understanding the constraints imposed by low statistical power, and (6) asking broad-scale questions that cannot be resolved in a single study. The chapter focuses on estimating effect sizes as a key outcome of meta-analysis, but acknowledges that other outcomes might be of more interest in other situations.

Keywords:   ecology, evolutionary biology, meta-analysis, effect sizes, exemplar studies, average trends, study replication, statistical power

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