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Meta-analysis in information systems research: method choices and recommendations for future research

Markus Blut (Durham University Business School, Durham University, Durham, UK) (Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia)

Industrial Management & Data Systems

ISSN: 0263-5577

Article publication date: 16 October 2020

Issue publication date: 4 February 2021




The use of meta-analysis in information systems (IS) research has increased. Because this research domain has matured and an increasing number of empirical studies have become available, meta-analysis is now perceived as a useful approach to synthesize an increasing body of empirical research. The present paper gives an overview of meta-analytical techniques, the evolution of meta-analysis in IS, the focus of these studies and method choices made by authors.


This overview is based on 100 meta-analysis studies published in IS journals. These meta-analytical studies synthesize data from 6,262 empirical studies, and the meta-analyses were published between 1989 and 2020. The studies were coded with regard to 16 major method choices that IS researchers made when conducting meta-analyses.


This overview describes the key areas of meta-analysis (e.g. strategy and firm performance) and the journals that publish the meta-analysis. This overview also identifies method issues where meta-analyses have improved in recent years as well as issues that require some attention. Scholars receive guidance about good practices in terms of 16 major method choices related to (1) problem formulation, (2) literature search, (3) coding information, (4) analyzing and integrating effect sizes and (5) interpreting results and reporting findings.


Addressing the identified method issues helps authors of future meta-analyses to increase the transparency of reporting and the likelihood of getting published. The substantive findings of a meta-analysis also often depend on researchers' method choices. Similar overviews exist for other disciplines, such as marketing and management.



Blut, M. (2021), "Meta-analysis in information systems research: method choices and recommendations for future research", Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 121 No. 1, pp. 12-29.



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