On the afternoon of June 13th 2017, Dr. Li Shaofeng from the University of Auckland was invited to deliverthe lecture “An Introduction to Meta-Analysis” at the Center for Linguisticsand Applied Linguistics. The lecture was hosted by Professor Ren Wei, and warmly welcomed by the participating teachers and students from the Center and the Faculty of English Language and Culture.
Dr. Li gave an overview of meta-analysisin in applied linguistics and highlighted the importance of synthesizing the cumulative effect of an experimental treatment or causal-effect relationships in empirical studies. Starting with the definition of meta-analysis, Dr. Li went on to trace its historical development and introduce its usefulness and basics. Dr. Li illustrated the five procedures of meta-analysis in applied linguistics. The first procedure was to formulate the research problem by providing a clear theoretical and operational definition of the construct. The second procedure concerned retrieving primary studies from the current pool of empirical studies. Retrieval methods included searching databases, browsing books,consulting experts and ancestry chasing. The third procedure referred to selecting studies by specifying screening criteria. Participants, research design, outcome measure, language production and source could serve as potential criteria. The fourth procedure focused on coding and analyzing data,which mainly involved effect sizes in primary studies previously selected. Finally,it was writing a meta-analysis report which consisted of introduction, methods,results and discussion. At the end of the lecture, Dr. Li pointed out that meta-analysishad pitfalls which researchers should endeavor to avoid to make their research robust as possible.
Although the discussion lasted only two hours, all the participants were greatly impressed and interacted actively with Dr. Li. The discussion deepened their understanding of issuesrelating to meta-analysis in applied linguistics.