Methods for addressing publication bias in school psychology journals: A descriptive review of meta-analyses from 1980 to 2019
Although meta-analyses are often used to inform practitioners and researchers, the resulting effect sizes can be artificially inflated due to publication bias. There are a number of methods to protect against, detect, and correct for publication bias. Currently, it is unknown to what extent scholars publishing meta-analyses within school psychology journals use these methods to address publication bias and whether more recently published meta-analyses more frequently utilize these methods. A historical review of every meta-analysis published to date within the most prominent school psychology journals (N = 10) revealed that 88 meta-analyses were published from 1980 to early 2019. Exactly half of them included grey literature, and 60% utilized methods to detect and correct for publication bias. The most common methods were visual analysis of a funnel plot, Orwin's failsafe N, Egger's regression, and the trim and fill procedure. None of these methods were used in more than 20% of the studies. About half of the studies incorporated one method, 20% incorporated two methods, 7% incorporated three methods, and none incorporated all four methods. These methods were most evident in studies published recently. Similar to other fields, the true estimates of effects from meta-analyses published in school psychology journals may not be available, and practitioners may be utilizing interventions that are, in fact, not as strong as believed. Practitioners, researchers employing meta-analysis techniques, education programs, and editors and peer reviewers in school psychology should continue to guard against publication bias using these methods.
Journal of School Psychology
McClain, M., Callan, G., Harris, B., Floyd, R., Haverkamp, C., Golson, M., Longhurst, D., & Benallie, K. (2021). Methods for addressing publication bias in school psychology journals: A descriptive review of meta-analyses from 1980 to 2019. Journal of School Psychology, 84, 74-94. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsp.2020.11.002