Are Meta-Analyses Overrated?

[From the article, “Meta-analyses were supposed to end scientific debates. Often, they only cause more controversy” by Jop de Vrieze, published at http://www.sciencemag.org]
“Meta-analyses were thought to be debate enders, but now we know they rarely are,” Ferguson says. “They should be regarded as an argument, not a fact.” It’s a paradox, says Jacob Stegenga, a philosopher of science at University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom: “When the evidence points clearly in one direction, there is little need for a meta-analysis. When it doesn’t, a meta-analysis is unlikely to give the final answer.”
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