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Family, Life Course, and Society | Health Communication | International and Intercultural Communication | Interpersonal and Small Group Communication | Mass Communication | Nature and Society Relations | Politics and Social Change | Psychology | Quantitative, Qualitative, Comparative, and Historical Methodologies | Race and Ethnicity | Social Influence and Political Communication | Social Psychology and Interaction | Sociology of Culture | Theory, Knowledge and Science


Like most scientific fields, social-personality psychology has experienced an

explosion of research related to such central topics as aggression, attraction, gender,

group processes, motivation, personality, and persuasion, to name a few. The

proliferation of research can be a monster unless it is tamed with the scientific

review strategy of meta-analysis, literally analyses of past analyses that produce

a quantitative and empirical history of research on a particular phenomenon. The

purpose of this article is to outline the basic process and statistics of meta-analysis,

as they pertain to social-personality psychology. Meta-analysis involves: (i) defining

the problem under review; (ii) gathering qualified reports and putting their

findings and methods into a database, (iii) analyzing that database, and (iv)

interpreting the results and reporting them. Use of meta-analytic strategies has

paralleled the knowledge explosion in social-personality psychology, but must be

used and consumed with careful discernment if the cumulated evidence about

the social animal, Homo sapiens , is to have maximal value.