Meta-analysis in Education Research
Evidence about 'what works' in both educational research and other social sciences is a contested issue, however there has been an increasing focus on the challenges of developing both evidence-based (or evidence-informed) practice and policy across disciplines internationally.
Systematic reviewing and quantitative synthesis of research findings or meta-analysis in particular are a part of this debate.The methodology of meta-analysis was developed as an approach to draw wider conclusions from quantitative, experimental research studies and to develop a more cumulative knowledge-base. Whilst it clearly has its limitations in terms of the research evidence that can be synthesised it is also an important tool for systematic interrogation of evidence which requires understanding of the quantitative techniques and their limitations.
We consider that there is a specific need within education research to develop understanding of the methodology to enable more informed critique; a need for its considered application in educational research and a need for further the development of innovative methods and techniques in education so that these sources of evidence can be more productively explored and built upon in future research.
The project, which ended on 31st March 2011, was a collaboration between Durham University, CEM, University of Birmingham, and EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Centre, Institute of Education, University of London. The 3 year project has been supported by Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as part of the Researcher Development Initiative (RDI). The RDI aims to support the training and development of researchers across the social sciences at all stages of their career.
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