Synthesizing regression results: a factored likelihood method


Correspondence to: Meng-Jia Wu, School of Education, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.



Regression methods are widely used by researchers in many fields, yet methods for synthesizing regression results are scarce. This study proposes using a factored likelihood method, originally developed to handle missing data, to appropriately synthesize regression models involving different predictors. This method uses the correlations reported in the regression studies to calculate synthesized standardized slopes. It uses available correlations to estimate missing ones through a series of regressions, allowing us to synthesize correlations among variables as if each included study contained all the same variables. Great accuracy and stability of this method under fixed-effects models were found through Monte Carlo simulation. An example was provided to demonstrate the steps for calculating the synthesized slopes through sweep operators. By rearranging the predictors in the included regression models or omitting a relatively small number of correlations from those models, we can easily apply the factored likelihood method to many situations involving synthesis of linear models. Limitations and other possible methods for synthesizing more complicated models are discussed. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.