Tools for Those Who Summarize the Evidence Base
(I'm posting similar info about my bibliography to other groups as well. This seems more useful than making one general post somewhere on this site, because different topics and issues are relevant to each group.)
My bibliography on methodology for research synthesis includes numerous articles, books, chapters, and other types of work that give fairly broad overviews of meta-analysis or other types of research synthesis (e.g., systematic review, health technology assessment, evidence synthesis, meta-ethnography). These vary widely in length, topic coverage, technical rigor, substantive emphasis, and other aspects. I'll just mention a few ways to find relevant items. One strategy is to examine the tag cloud in the new CiteULike version of my bibliography:
From there you can simply click on a given tag to see a list of items that address that topic (though not always as a main topic). For example, clicking on 'overview_of_meta-analysis' or 'overview_of_research_synthesis' takes you to the following subsets of items:
Many items' records include an abstract, more tags, links to the full text, and other features. You can also search this library, export citations, and accomplish other useful reference management tasks; some tasks require (free) registration but most do not. The following blog page describes much more about this bibliography project, including links to tips for getting started and to other publicly available versions:
The above Meth4ReSyn library in CiteULike currently contains fewer than 10% of the 7,000+ items in my larger publicly available bibliography, the most recent version of which is associated with the forthcoming article:
Hafdahl, A. R. (in press). Article Alerts: Items from 2011, Part I. Research Synthesis Methods.
This 'Article Alerts' version exists as an Excel workbook, which is somewhat clumsy to use but can be searched or filtered using Excel utilities.
Even the largest version of my bibliography contains only about 20% to 30% of all the available methodological work relevant to research synthesis, by my admittedly crude estimate. I spend several hundred hours each year adding more items and making it user-friendlier (e.g., transporting most items to the Meth4ReSyn library in CiteULike). I'd welcome your suggestions for how to improve this resource.