So meta: Jeremy’s new ecological meta-meta-analysis is now published

Back when this blog was active, I avoided using it to promote my own work. Now that it’s largely dormant, shameless self-promotion is about the only thing I can still be bothered to use it for…

Anyway, in case you’re interested, I have a new paper out in Ecology and Evolution. It uses meta-meta-analysis–meta-analysis of meta-analyses–to ask “how much does the typical ecological meta-analysis overestimate the magnitude of the mean effect size?” Then answer is “by about 10%, but occasionally by much more if it’s a small meta-analysis”. Some of you will recall an old post in which I trailed some of the ideas in this paper. The comments on that post really helped me flesh out and implement my ideas, so thank you again to our commenters.

Coincidentally, there’s a new post at Data Colada criticizing a recent high-profile meta-analysis in psychology for being too broad–lumping together unrelated studies in the same meta-analysis, and so estimating a scientifically meaningless mean effect size. If this argument is right, it applies even more so to my new paper. After all, my meta-meta-analysis lumps together studies of almost every topic ecologists have ever studied! How could it possibly be scientifically meaningful, or statistically useful, to combine unrelated studies into the same analysis? That’s a very good question, for which I think I have a very good answer. You’ll have to read the paper to see my answer, and decide if you buy it.

p.s. It’s only after I thought of writing this paper that I remembered that there’s an xkcd cartoon making fun of it. 🙂

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