Technological choices about data and analysis packages for meta-analysis

Chris Brown Mahoney


Information technology currently available creates a plethora of choices for any researcher collecting and analyzing data. These choices present numerous ethical dilemmas for the researcher. Decision points where the ethical impact must be considered occur at different stages in planning and executing a research project. Careful attention to each of these decisions and the possible impact on both the outcome of the research and the use or application of the outcome are important considerations for the researcher.

The researcher needs to consider carefully the use of technologies that are avilable and how the choice of technology will impact the research. Researchers are constantly faced with decision that will have a major impact on the results of their studies. Choices regarding data sources and analysis techniques, as well as analysis packages utilized in the analysis, can drive the outcome of the research.

This paper will examine the impact that choices about technology use can have on meta-analyses. Technology choices may have more impact on meta-analyses that other thypes of research. The two major technology decision points that will be discussed are the choice of technology for literature search and the choice of technology for data analysis methodology. Research results comparing the execution of the different technology choices will be presented. The ethical impact application of the differing results will be discussed.