Meta-Analysis in Vocational Behavior: A Systematic Review and Recommendations for Best Practices


Meta-analysis is a powerful tool for the synthesis of quantitative empirical research. Overall, the field of vocational behavior has benefited from the results of meta-analyses. Yet, there is still quite a bit to learn about how we can improve the quality of meta-analyses reported in this field of inquiry. In this paper, we systematically review all meta-analyses published in the Journal of Vocational Behavior (JVB) to date. We do so to address two related goals: First, based on guidance from various sources (e.g., the American Psychological Association’s meta-analysis reporting standards; MARS), we introduce ten facets of meta-analysis that have particular bearing on statistical conclusion validity. Second, we systematically review meta-analyses published in JVB over the past 32 years, with a particular focus on the methods employed; this review informs a discussion of 19 associated “best practices” for researchers who are considering conducting a meta-analysis in the field of vocational behavior (or in related fields). Thus, this work serves as an important benchmark, indicating where we “have been” and where we “should go,” with respect to conducting and reporting meta-analyses on vocational behavior topics.

Journal of Vocational Behavior
Cort W. Rudolph
Associate Professor of Industrial & Organizational Psychology