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      Modern Meta-Analytic Methods in Prevention Science: Introduction to the Special Issue

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      Prevention Science
      Springer Science and Business Media LLC

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          Abstract

          Meta-analyses that statistically synthesize evidence from multiple research studies can play an important role in advancing evidence-informed prevention science. When done in the context of a well-conducted systematic review, meta-analysis is a powerful tool for synthesizing evidence and exploring research questions that are difficult to address in individual studies, such as the association of individual study limitations on intervention effect estimates, replicability of empirical findings, and variation of effect estimates across populations and settings. Alongside the rapid growth in the number of published reviews and meta-analyses, there has been a parallel growth in the development of meta-analytic techniques to handle the increasingly complex types of questions and types of evidence relevant to prevention science. Despite this rapid evolution of meta-analytic techniques and approaches, there is still a lag between the development of new techniques and their uptake by researchers in the field. This paper serves as a brief introduction to this special issue of Prevention Science, entitled "Modern Meta-Analytic Methods in Prevention Science," which highlights recent developments in meta-analytic methods and demonstrates their application to prevention research. This special issue makes an important contribution to the field by ensuring these methodological advances are widely accessible to prevention science researchers, thereby improving their uptake and utilization, and ultimately improving the utility and rigor of research syntheses for informing evidence-based decision making in prevention.

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          Most cited references43

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          Meta-analysis and the science of research synthesis

          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.
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            The Mass Production of Redundant, Misleading, and Conflicted Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses.

            Currently, there is massive production of unnecessary, misleading, and conflicted systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Instead of promoting evidence-based medicine and health care, these instruments often serve mostly as easily produced publishable units or marketing tools. Suboptimal systematic reviews and meta-analyses can be harmful given the major prestige and influence these types of studies have acquired. The publication of systematic reviews and meta-analyses should be realigned to remove biases and vested interests and to integrate them better with the primary production of evidence.
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              Primary, Secondary, and Meta-Analysis of Research

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
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                Journal
                Prevention Science
                Prev Sci
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1389-4986
                1573-6695
                April 2022
                February 16 2022
                April 2022
                : 23
                : 3
                : 341-345
                Article
                10.1007/s11121-022-01354-8
                35171463
                1468f244-d700-4412-ad71-5eab8af68f9d
                © 2022

                Free to read

                https://www.springer.com/tdm

                https://www.springer.com/tdm

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