This book serves as an introductory methods text on how to conduct a research synthesis of literature in the social, behavioural, or the medical sciences. Harris Cooper applies the basic tenets of sound data-gathering to the task of producing a comprehensive assessment of past research.
In this book, the process of research synthesis is conceptualized as five stages: (1) problem formulation; (2) data collection or the literature search; (3) data evaluation; (4) analysis and interpretation; and (5) presentation of results. Cooper leads the reader through the comprehensive synthesis via a five- stage, step-by-step process.
In the fifth edition, chapter 4 on conducting a literature search has been extensively revised to include recent developments brought about by the increasing use of the internet for scientific communication. Other new developments in the techniques for meta-analysis are covered in chapter 6, including new statistics for describing meta-analytic results and combining complex data structure. These new statistics are introduced but briefly because more in-depth treatment they would require more advanced knowledge that is not appropriate for this book. This new edition reflects careful revisions throughout along with a thorough updating of the references.
Readers who are engaged in writing a research report, dissertation, or book will find Cooper's tips a welcome aid for doing more effective and more efficient literature review.
Harris M. Cooper is professor in the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience at Duke University. He earned his doctorate degree in social psychology from the University of Connecticut. His research interests include research synthesis, applications of social and developmental psychology to educational policy issues, homework, school calendars, and afterschool programs.
INTRODUCTION: LITERATURE REVIEWS, RESEARCH SYNTHESES AND META-ANALYSES STEP 1: Formulating the Problem STEP 2: Searching the Literature STEP 3: Gathering Information From Studies STEP 4: Evaluating the Quality of Studies STEP 5: Analyzing and Integrating the Outcomes of Studies STEP 6: Interpreting the Evidence STEP 7: Presenting the Results CONCLUSION: Threats to the Validity of Research Synthesis Conclusions