Meta-Analysis Resources

Tools for Those Who Summarize the Evidence Base

Resources and networking for those who conduct or interpret meta-analyses related to any phenomenon that is gauged in multiple studies.

My expertise includes:

  • PhD, psychology, Purdue University, 1988.
  • Languages: Native speaker English, near fluency in French, beginner in German, Romanian, Spanish
  • 25+ years' experience conducting and publishing numerous meta-analyses (also numerous primary-level studies)
  • obtained U.S. National-Institutes-of-Health funding to conduct meta-analyses since 1995, including especially the Syntheses of HIV & AIDS Research Project (SHARP), funded since 1998
  • developed software to facilitate conducting meta-analyses (DSTAT 1.x, 2.x)
  • published numerous papers about meta-analytic methods (e.g., here)
  • led graduate seminars on at the University of Connecticut
  • frequently lead workshops on methods of meta-analysis, including such organizations as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Summer Institute in Social Psychology, and numerous universities, both in the U.S. and abroad (e.g., France, Germany, Switzerland).
  • consulted with numerous principal investigators and prominent organizations regarding  evidence-based projects and position stands
  • honored as fellow of numerous associations (e.g., American Psychological Association, Association for Psychological Science, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues)
  • inaugural and active member, Society for Research Synthesis Methodology
  • editorial board member, Research Synthesis Methods, along with several others

The Meta-analytic Strategies I use most include:

  • Weighted mean effect sizes based on fixed- (common) or random (variable) effects 
  • Moderator analyses (effect modifiers) based on fixed- or mixed-effects assumptions
  • Elaborate coding of study methodologies (e.g., content of interventions delivered for a health promotion intervention)
  • Use of geographical and temporal information to enhance understanding of meta-analytic phenomena
  • Use of many different effect size metrics (especially d and r, but also the OR) and increasing use of the arithmetic mean when studies in a literature permit it
  • Use of standardized vs. unstandardized effect sizes in meta-analysis
  • Specialized expertise in deriving effect sizes from statistically impoverished reports (e.g., those that do not report a standard deviation)

Software I use most in conducting meta-analysis includes:


The substantive domains to which I have applied meta-analytic techniques include such topics as:

  • Health promotion efforts, especially HIV prevention strategies, but also exercise interventions for cancer survivors
  • Meta-synthesis of health promotion meta-analyses
  • Efficacy of anti-depressant medications, including placebo effects
  • Attitude-behavior relations
  • Social influence topics such as involvement and persuasion and gender differences in leadership style

Quotation: "Science offers no gauges of the truth, only tools with which to divine it."

from p. 337 in: Johnson, B. T., Scott-Sheldon, L. A. J., Snyder, L. B., Noar, S. M., & Huedo-Medina, T. (2008). Contemporary approaches to meta-analysis of communication research. In Hayes, A., Slater, M. D., & Snyder, L. B. (Eds.) (Eds.) The Sage Sourcebook of Advanced Data Analysis Methods for Communication Research (pp. 311-348). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

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Replies to This Discussion

Hello Dr. Johnson,

I just came across this group and am excited to have found a source of experts! I am a graduate student from California State University, Fullerton and am attempting a meta-analysis for my thesis. I realize this is a massive undertaking, but was highly encouraged to pursue this by my academic mentor. Unfortunately, I have not been able to track down anybody at my institution that has performed a meta-analysis, leaving me severely under-resourced. I have read as much as I can about this process and have done a systematic search, but am left with many specific questions about the statistics that I believe only an expert could help me with. Do you consult by any chance? If not, do you know of any other resources I could reach out to in an effort to get guidance on how to successfully perform a meta-analysis? Any insight you could provide would be so appreciated!

Many thanks,

Jessi Tobin

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