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On Demand

The Nuts and Bolts of Meta-Analysis: A Guide for the Practitioner, Not Statistician

You may earn this many credits: 1.0

Jennifer Harrison, Ph.D., LP |  Trisha Kivisalu, Ph.D.
1 Hour
Audio and Video


As practitioners of mental health services to a wide variety of clientele, part of the responsibility as ethical professionals is to stay current on advances in interventions in our field. Reviewing published literature is a key source of information for existing and new interventions. Meta-analysis is a quantitative research method used to synthesize available evidence from published literature with the goal of producing a mean effect size. The mean, or summary, effect size that is attained then speaks to the magnitude of the effect found, such as the impact of an intervention with a specific population. While meta-analysis follows a systematic method with straightforward steps, the statistics involved are quite complex in nature. However, with a few helpful tips that cover the basics of this important empirical method, practitioners without advanced statistical training can be adequately equipped to understand the nuts and bolts of meta-analysis. This presentation will provide attendees with a broad overview of the origin of the method, its relative importance, a breakdown of the process, and discuss what can and cannot be answered with this statistical method. In addition, steps to finding a meta-analysis as well as brief applications of these principles will be demonstrated. Recommendations for extrapolating relevant elements of meta-analytic studies that will help inform daily practice will be discussed.

Introductory: Assumes post-doctoral education status and limited familiarity with topic.


(1) Define and describe the purpose of a meta-analysis.
(2) Explain the steps of the meta-analytic method.
(3) Describe the primary resultant statistics in meta-analytic studies.
(4) Identify what can and cannot be answered with the meta-analytic method of research.
(5) Name the essential elements to take-away from reviewing a meta-analysis for clinical practice.

This session qualifies for 1 continuing education credit. You must attend the full program to receive continuing education credit.

The Minnesota Psychological Association is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Minnesota Psychological Association maintains responsibility for this program and its content.



Jennifer Harrison, Ph.D., LP Related seminars and products

Jennifer L. Harrison, Ph.D., LP is a licensed clinical and forensic psychologist for Direct Care and Treatment – Forensic Services (DCT-FS) in St. Peter, Minnesota. As a forensic examiner, she specializes in forensic evaluations to include competency to stand trial, criminal responsibility, civil commitment, and general and sexual violence risk assessment. Dr. Harrison also serves as a consultant with specialty in the delivery and implementation of a cognitive behavioral treatment known as Michael’s Game, a card game for the treatment of delusional ideas, in both inpatient and outpatient settings. She serves as adjunct faculty for the California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP) at Alliant International University, and teaches doctoral-level courses in meta-analysis and distance learning teaching methods. She also actively publishes meta-analytic research.

The speaker has indicated no conflicts of interest.

Trisha Kivisalu, Ph.D. Related seminars and products

Trisha M. Kivisalu, Ph.D., R.Psych#2520. Dr. Kivisalu earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University. She is currently a Registered Psychologist with the College of Psychologists of British Columbia, and is a Nationally Registered Health Service Psychologist (#56258). She is a member of APA, CPA and the BC Psychological Association. Dr. Kivisalu has authored a number of meta-analytic studies examining reliability as it impacts psychologists in instrument selection, use and interpretation. She has presented on the topics of assessment/measurement, reliability, meta-analytic studies, teaching and training at local, national and international conferences across the US and Canada. She enjoys clinical practice, teaching/mentoring, supervision and research.

The speaker has indicated they do not have any conflicts of interest.

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