Revealed or Concealed?

Zeynep G. Aytug, Hannah R. Rothstein, Wencang Zhou, and Mary C. Kern, all of Baruch College, City University of New York, published “Revealed or Concealed? Transparency of Procedures, Decisions and Judgment Calls in Meta-Analyses in  Online First of Organizational Research Methods. They were kind enough to share some background information about the article.

Who is the target audience for this article?

Meta-analysts and readers of meta-analyses, not only in industrial and organizational psychology and organizational behavior (IOOB) but also in other fields, are all included in our target audience for the article.

What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

All of the authors of this paper are interested in research methodology and, specifically, meta-analysis. We had observed that many meta-analyses were missing pieces of information that are needed to assess their validity. Given the important role that meta-analysis plays in summarizing research literatures, this is a serious issue. We decided to see exactly how extensive this problem was in our field.

Were there findings that were surprising to you?

Most of our findings were not surprising to us, because we had already had some sense of the uneven quality of meta-analysis reporting in IOOB. However, we were not expecting to see that the majority of the meta-analyses in our sample did not report any publication bias or sensitivity analyses, which are absolutely necessary for assessing the robustness of the meta-analytic results.

How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

We hope that our study will lead to improved reporting of meta-analyses. This will enable consumers of meta-analyses, including researchers, practitioners and policy makers to more easily evaluate the validity and generalizability of specific meta-analyses.

How does this study fit into your body of work/line of research?

We are all committed to improving the quality of meta-analyses, since we believe it is such an important methodological tool; this study represents one attempt to do so.

How did your paper change during the review process?

The reviewers and editor provided feedback that led us to improve the paper in many ways. Initially, we examined only two journals; based on the comments we received we expanded our sample to 11 journals, and almost 200 meta-analyses. We also increased the number of reporting items we examined, and introduced a set of core “essential to report” items.

What, if anything, would you do if you could go back and do this study again?

We would examine meta-analyses published in other fields within psychology.

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