Meta-analysis: Know-how and Beyond

Within this course, students will learn how to formulate a problem and analyze it conducting a meta-analysis in JASP, a valuable open-science software. Also, students will have the opportunity to practice wide-and-far literature search and will learn how to report their findings following the PRISMA standards with professional assistance. Students will learn the basics on how to prepare and describe a meta-analytical study in a separate article as well. Moreover, students will be able to apply this technique to summarize studies described in a manuscript in order to improve argumentation and “publishability”, furthering academic and professional careers while building a strong skill-set and portfolio..

Course level
Master, PhD candidates and professionals from all disciplines
Session 2
11 January to 18 January 2020 
Coordinating lecturer                                      Dr. Jacek Buczny
Form(s) of instructionInteractive seminar
Form(s) of assessmentPartial assignments
ECTS3 credits
Contact hours30 hours
Tuition fee€800 - non-VU students and staff
€500 - VU students and staff
This course is suitable for Master students, PhD candidates, and professionals who are interested in the application of quantitative data analysis. No advanced statistical skills are required. This course is relevant to economics and business studies, as well as social and behavioral sciences. If you have doubts about your eligibility for the course, please contact us: graduatewinterschool@vu.nl.
It is expected that students have already successfully completed a standard course in statistics. The coursework demands the need to understand the concepts of effect size, statistical power, and generalizability. Also, it is encouraged to be interested in reproducibility and replicability in scientific research (open science). Laptop with JASP installed is a must.
“Systematic reviews and meta-analyses are essential tools for summarizing evidence accurately and reliably (…)” (Liberati et al., 2009, p. 1). Currently, meta-analysis is widely applied technique for a multitude of reasons. For instance, to test and advance theories. It also is applicable to many of today’s issues tackling extensive scientific research, for example, to test the robustness of the relationship between variables across cultures. It can be used not only to conclude general effected size related to the studied relationships, but it is also essential for finding and estimating publication bias. Moreover, it can be applied in an a priori power analysis in the purpose to design sample size.

Within this course, students will learn how to formulate a problem and analyze it conducting a meta-analysis in JASP, a valuable open-science software. Also, students will have the opportunity to practice wide-and-far literature search and will learn how to report their findings following the PRISMA standards with professional assistance. Students will learn the basics on how to prepare and describe a meta-analytical study in a separate article as well. Moreover, students will be able to apply this technique to summarize studies described in a manuscript in order to improve argumentation and “publishability”, furthering academic and professional careers while building a strong skill-set and portfolio.

The course is organized in a form of an interactive seminar, in which students will perform four individual assignments, one each day. After a submission of each assignment, professional feedback will be provided.

The following topics will be discussed:
•    Two types of systematic reviews
•    Pros and cons of meta-analysis
•    Publication bias and quality of publications
•    Effect size and how to calculate it
•    Literature search, exclusion, inclusion and coding
•    Available software, including JASP
•    Fixed- and random-effects model
•    Heterogeneity and its consequences
•    Estimating overall effect size
•    Analysis of moderators
•    Estimating publication bias (trim and fill, p-uniform*, PET-PEESE)
•    Meta-analysis in R (briefly)
•    Additional topics: meta-analysis of indirect effects, meta-CART, meta-plot, and Bayesian meta-analysis

Additionally, students will be familiarized with examples of published research to better understand the common expectations and means of professionalism.

At the end of this course, students will be able to:
•    Formulate a research question to conduct a meta-analysis;
•    Carry out an expansive literary search;
•    Systematically review relevant literature;
•    Code studies fitting inclusion criteria;
•    Meta-analyze the coded effects using JASP software;
•    Interpret and report the meta-analytic results;
•    Apply PRISMA standards into a report.

Borenstein, M., Hedges, L. V., Higgins, J. P. T., & Rothstein, H. R. (2009). Introduction to meta-analysis. New York: Wiley.

Liberati, A., Altman, D. G., Tetzlaff, J., Mulrow, C., Gøtzsche, P. C., Ioannidis, J. P. A., et al. (2009). The PRISMA statement for reporting systematic reviews and meta-analyses of studies that evaluate health care interventions: Explanation and elaboration. PLOS Medicine, 6, e1000100. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000100

Recommended additional sources:
•    Meta-Analysis in JASP
•    Meta-Research
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Dr. Jacek Buczny is an assistant professor in Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology, VU Amsterdam. At University at Albany, USA, he received a post-doctoral training. He has extensive expertise in teaching and applying in his research many paradigms and designs. He conducts research in order to understand relationships between self-regulatory processes and decision-making mechanisms, studying behavior in healthy and psychopathological samples. He has published in Personality and Individual Differences, Motivation and Emotion, Frontiers in Psychology, Sex Roles, Wiley & Sons, and Oxford University Press. He taught PhD courses on mediation and moderation analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, structural equation modeling, and meta-analysis.