A Review of Meta-Analyses in Education: Methodological Strengths and Weaknesses

Soyeon Ahn, Allison J. Ames, Nicholas D. Myers

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


The current review addresses the validity of published meta-analyses in education that determines the credibility and generalizability of study findings using a total of 56 meta-analyses published in education in the 2000s. Our objectives were to evaluate the current meta-analytic practices in education, identify methodological strengths and weaknesses, and provide recommendations for improvements in order to generate a more valid and credible knowledge base of what works in practice. It was found that 56 meta-analyses followed general recommendations fairly well in problem formulation and data collection, but much improvement is needed in data evaluation and analysis. Particularly, lack of information reported as well as little transparency in the use of statistical methods are concerns for generating credible and generalizable meta-analytic findings that can be transformed to educational practices. Recommendations for yielding more reliable and valid inferences from meta-analyses are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)436-476
Number of pages41
JournalReview of Educational Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • credibility
  • generalizability
  • meta-analysis
  • validity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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