Volume 555 Number 7695 pp141-274 8 March 2018
Meta-analysis and the science of research synthesis
Jessica Gurevitch, Julia Koricheva, Shinichi Nakagawa & Gavin Stewart
Meta-analysis—the quantitative, scientific synthesis of research results—has been both Abstract
Meta-analysis is the quantitative, scientific synthesis of research results. Since the term and modern approaches to research synthesis were first introduced in the 1970s, meta-analysis has had a revolutionary effect in many scientific fields, helping to establish evidence-based practice and to resolve seemingly contradictory research outcomes. At the same time, its implementation has engendered criticism and controversy, in some cases general and others specific to particular disciplines. Here we take the opportunity provided by the recent fortieth anniversary of meta-analysis to reflect on the accomplishments, limitations, recent advances and directions for future developments in the field of research synthesis.