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  1. Frank L. Schmidt

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0542

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Schmidt, F. L. 2010. Meta-Analysis. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. University of Iowa

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Meta-analysis is a set of methods for integrating findings across studies to reveal the patterns of relations that underlie conflicting research literatures, thus providing a basis for theory development. Meta-analysis can correct for the distorting effects of sampling error, measurement error, and other artifacts that produce the illusion of conflicting findings. The goal in any science is the production of cumulative knowledge, and this implies the development of theories. But before theories can be developed, we must be able to calibrate the relations between variables. Applications of meta-analysis to accumulated research literatures has shown that research findings are not nearly as conflicting as had been thought and that useful and sound general conclusions can be drawn from existing research. During the 1980s and accelerating up to the present, the use of meta-analysis to make sense of research literatures has increased greatly.