MetaLab and metalabR: Facilitating dynamic meta-analyses in developmental psychology

Loretta Gasparini, Erik Iverson, Sara El-Shawa, Sho Tsuji, Michael C. Frank, Christina Bergmann, Leibniz Institut Für Psychologische Information Und Dokumentation (ZPID)
Developmental psychologists often make statements of the form "babies learn to do X at age Y". Yet summaries made on the basis of one or a few studies can misrepresent a messy and complex evidence base. True results may also not be generalizable outside of the specific testing context for theoretically important reasons including the language or age of the infants. Other factors that are typically considered "noise" might also impede generalizability, including the lab where testing takes
more » ... testing takes place, the type of stimuli, or the methods that were used. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses help bring coherence to a complex evidence base, control for confounds, and increase confidence in results. However, meta-analyses are underused in developmental research. Objective: To facilitate developmental researchers' access to current meta-analyses, we created MetaLab (, a platform for open, dynamic meta-analytic datasets. In 6 years, the site has grown to 30 meta-analyses with data from 45,000 infants and children. A key feature is the standardized data storage format, which allows a unified framework for analysis and visualization. This facilitates the addition of new data points, resulting in community-augmented meta-analyses (CAMAs; Tsuji, Bergmann, & Cristia, 2014), which provide the most up-to-date summary of the body of literature. Use of this standardized format is facilitated by tailored documentation and our metalabR package, as follows. Method: The MetaLab website hosts tutorials for conducting a systematic review and quantitative synthesis. In progress are tutorials for researchers who are planning on conducting, or who have conducted, a study on a topic where a MetaLab CAMA already exists. These tutorials will help researchers decide on their methodology and sample size, based on the collated body of evidence, and to add their results to the CAMA when their study is complete. Currently in development, our new R package, metalabR, facilitates and standardizes the process of condu [...]
doi:10.23668/psycharchives.4817 fatcat:s4vu53cdnvb7zbb56qhhuix7ja