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Reviews of literature including systematic meta-analysis are invaluable to advance science and guide directions for future research. The premise for conducting reviews is well established (Dickersin & Berlin, 1992; Glass, 1976). Systematic reviews in a field gather scholarly efforts on a topic, theme, population, setting and treatment conditions to identify peculiarities and generalizations across subsets. Reviews thus increase power and precision of causal inferences and estimates of relationships between constructs and help manage literature “blind spots” by increasing reliability and validity of results from widely dispersed regional and global studies. The advantage of reviews is thus especially noticeable in cases where occurrence rates of conditions or events are particularly low or where small effect sizes equally matter (e.g. in medical research) (Lau et al., 1992). The cumulation of diverse perspectives in a review offers nuances that cannot be found from a single study. This is mostly because each study is shaped by researcher’s cognitive capabilities and is influenced by the characteristics of research design including selection criteria for participants, research context including treatment conditions and sophistication of methods employed (Light & Pillemer, 1984). A formal meta-analysis of reviews in this view is more likely to detect small but significant effects than a single review performed by a researcher using traditional methods (Rosenthal, Cooper & Hedges, 1994). (...)
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