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Res Synth Methods. 2011 Mar;2(1):61-76. doi: 10.1002/jrsm.35. Epub 2011 Jun 10.

Fixed effects and variance components estimation in three-level meta-analysis.

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Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, United States.


Meta-analytic methods have been widely applied to education, medicine, and the social sciences. Much of meta-analytic data are hierarchically structured because effect size estimates are nested within studies, and in turn, studies can be nested within level-3 units such as laboratories or investigators, and so forth. Thus, multilevel models are a natural framework for analyzing meta-analytic data. This paper discusses the application of a Fisher scoring method in two-level and three-level meta-analysis that takes into account random variation at the second and third levels. The usefulness of the model is demonstrated using data that provide information about school calendar types. sas proc mixed and hlm can be used to compute the estimates of fixed effects and variance components.


effect sizes; meta-analysis; multilevel models; variance components


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