LING-746 Seminar: Research Synthesis and Meta-Analysis
Fall for 2017-2018
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Research synthesis refers to a continuum of techniques that have been developed by social scientists with the aim to review past literature systematically. Meta-analysis is probably the best known of these techniques, and it serves to mathematically synthesize quantitative research for areas in which sufficient (and sufficiently comparable) research has accumulated. Simply put, research syntheses (including meta-analyses) are contemporary literature reviews that differ from the traditional approaches by taking a radically empirical perspective on the task of reviewing. This course introduces students to the principles and practices of research synthesis, including systematic procedures for: (a) the sampling of primary research studies, (b) the evaluation and classification of substantive and methodological features, and (c) the analysis and interpretation of study findings. The course also familiarizes students with meta-analytic techniques for summarizing and interpreting findings across groups of quantitative primary studies.

The seminar will be methodological in nature, but the methodologies will be learned by careful application to several current research domains in areas of language study that reflect the diverse expertise of the seminar participants. Participants will carry out a single-authored or collaborative synthesis project targeting a research domain where they have already developed substantive expertise. The final paper should report on the piloting of the full cycle involved in carrying out a systematic research synthesis. Support for the projects will be provided so as to enhance the chances of future publication.

Readings will come primarily from the following textbooks (and a selection of articles):

Norris, J. M., & Ortega, L. (Eds.). (2006). Synthesizing research on language learning and teaching. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. [ISBN: 978 90 272 1966 4]

Cumming, G. (2012). Understanding The new statistics: Effect sizes, confidence intervals, and meta-analysis. New York: Routledge. [ISBN-13: 978-0415879682]

Lipsey, M. W., & Wilson, D. B. (2001). Practical meta-analysis. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. [ISBN: 978-0761921684]
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
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