Narrative Versus Meta-Analytic Reviews: A Rejoinder to Graham’s Comment
We examine Graham’s (1995) concerns about meta-analysis regarding (a) the use of poor-quality studies and (b) an overemphasis on quantitative comparisons of substantively disparate literatures. First, many meta-analysts eschew making questionable global judgments of quality so as to exclude studies on an a priori basis. Instead, they demonstrate their concern for research quality by including methods variables in a search for influences on study outcomes. Further, our meta-analysis (Cooper & Dorr, 1995) demonstrated the independence of decisions about (a) what studies to include in a review and (b) whether to use quantitative synthesis techniques by using the same evidential base Graham used for her narrative review. Second, we agree with Graham that substantively disparate literatures ought not be compared. However, we argue that literatures that might be defined as disparate for one purpose could be comparable for another. Regardless, her concern is irrelevant to our comparison of the two reviewing methods. © 1995, Sage Publications. All rights reserved.
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