Edited by Larry Dwyer, Alison Gill and Neelu Seetaram
24 Meta-analyses of tourism research Ulrike Gretzel and Heather Kennedy-Eden INTRODUCTION As the name suggests, meta-analysis is a research method that involves the analysis of analyses. It aims at assessing “a field of study beyond one particular study” (Timulak, 2009, p. 591) by aggregating research findings from a number of existing empirical research studies. It is a relatively new methodology, especially in the social sciences, that is still under development and also controversial in some respect because of the potential biases it can introduce and the risk of comparing things that are not comparable. With the growing maturity of tourism as a field of inquiry one can expect that the integration of research findings provided through meta-analyses will grow in importance. A chapter dealing with meta-analysis in a tourism research methods book is therefore warranted. However, rather than replicating what others have already written, this chapter only provides brief summaries of the general issues and procedures and focuses attention on the applicability of meta-analyses to solving research problems in tourism and the specific challenges faced when conducting a meta-analysis related to tourism research. Examples of published meta-analytic research in tourism are presented to illustrate the processes involved and to demonstrate the benefits for knowledge advancement in tourism. IMPORTANCE OF META-ANALYSIS AS A FORM OF RESEARCH SYNTHESIS Science is a cumulative endeavour that requires the integration of research related to the same phenomena (Cooper et al., 2009). This ensures that a ‘constant re-invention of the wheel’ can be avoided and that...
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