Meta-Analysis in Biology and Environmental Sciences

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General information

Meta-analysis is the statistical synthesis of the results of different research studies. These tools and the conceptual framework in which they are based provide a widely implemented, cross-disciplinary statistical framework for quantifying, pooling, and evaluating the results of different studies on the same topic.

In this course, students will learn how to conduct a meta-analysis from the start to finish, including formulating hypotheses, extracting data from primary literature, computing effect sizes, testing for the effects of covariates (moderators or explanatory variables), examining assumptions and sources of bias, and presenting the results. We will also discuss some common mistakes as well as controversies regarding the implementation of meta-analysis in the biological and environmental sciences.

The course will be taught full-time during one week at the Sven Lovén Center for Marine Sciences at Tjärnö outside Strömstad, Sweden. Each day during the course will include both theoretical lectures and extensive hands-on experience with practical assignments and group projects. 

Swedish Higher Education credits (hp): 2.5 (=ECTS)

Learning outcome:

After completion of the course the Ph.D. student is expected to be able to:
1. Knowledge and understanding
- Define meta-analysis and describe its role in the research process
- Demonstrate how to assess and interpret variation in effect size across studies

2. Skills and abilities
- List and perform the different steps included in a meta-analysis
- Compute effect sizes and treatment effects
- Compare fixed- and random effect models for synthesizing data

3. Judgement and approach
- Explain how to avoid common mistakes in meta-analysis
- Identify controversies in meta-analysis

Contact Person: Gunilla Toth (


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Venue: Sven Lovén Center for Marine Sciences
Tjärnö, Sweden



The course is free but accepted students will need to cover travel costs and lodging (available at the center at reasonable rates).

Application Procedure:

Sendn a mail including a short (0.5 A4) description of your research and time left to PhD-defense to: Gunilla Toth ( 

Application deadline: 30th September 2014


Academic level: PhD


Students must actively participate in lectures, practical assignments and oral presentations. Examination will be in the form of oral group presentations. The grading scale comprises Fail, (U), Pass (G).

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