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Meta-Analysis in Sociological Research: Power and Heterogeneity


Tong, Guangyu & Guo, Guang (Online ahead of print). Meta-Analysis in Sociological Research: Power and Heterogeneity. Sociological Methods & Research.


Meta-analysis is a statistical method that combines quantitative findings from previous studies. It has been increasingly used to obtain more credible results in a wide range of scientific fields. Combining the results of relevant studies allows researchers to leverage study similarities while modeling potential sources of between-study heterogeneity. This article provides a review of the core methodologies of meta-analysis that we consider most relevant to sociological research. After developing the foundation of the fixed- and random-effects models of meta-analysis models, this article illustrates the utility of the method with regression coefficients reported from two sets of social science studies. We explain the various steps of the process including constructing the meta-sample from primary studies, estimating the fixed- and random-effects models, analyzing the source of heterogeneity across studies, and assessing publication bias. We conclude with a discussion of steps that could be taken to strengthen the development of meta-analysis in sociological research, which will eventually increase the credibility of sociological inquiry via a knowledge-cumulative process.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Article Type


Year Published

Online ahead of print

Journal Title

Sociological Methods & Research


Tong, Guangyu
Guo, Guang