Psychology 4853E 001 FW23

Honours Thesis: Meta-Analysis

If there is a discrepancy between the outline posted below and the outline posted on the OWL course website, the latter shall prevail.



LONDON               CANADA 

Department of Psychology 



Psychology [4853E]    Section [001] 

[Honours Thesis (Meta-Analysis] 





Independent meta-analysis developed and conducted under the direction of a faculty member in a group learning environment.  


Antirequisite: Psychology 4850E, Psychology 4851E, Psychology 4852E 


Antirequisites are courses that overlap sufficiently in content that only one can be taken for credit. If you take a course that is an antirequisite to a course previously taken, you will lose credit for the earlier course, regardless of the grade achieved in the most recent course. 


Prerequisite: Psychology 3801F/G or the former Psychology 3800F/G and one of Psychology 3184F/G, Psychology 3185F/G, Psychology 3285F/G, Psychology 3480F/G, Psychology 3485F/G, Psychology 3580F/G, Psychology 3780F/G, or Psychology 3840F/G, PLUS registration in fourth year Main Campus Honours Specialization in Psychology and permission of the Psychology Department. Students in fourth year Honours Specialization in Animal Behaviour may also enrol in this course. 


[NUMBER OF LECTURE HOURS] weekly 2.5 lecture hours; Course Weight: [1.0] 


Unless you have either the prerequisites for this course or written special permission from your Dean to enrol in it, you may be removed from this course and it will be deleted from your record. This decision may not be appealed. You will receive no adjustment to your fees in the event that you are dropped from a course for failing to have the necessary prerequisites. 





Instructor: Paul F. Tremblay  

Office and Phone Number: SSC 6336 519-661-2111 Ext. 85644  

Office Hours: by appointment  



Teaching Assistant: to be announced 

Office: Office Hours:  



Time and Location of Classes: Available on Student Center

Delivery Method: In-Person 


Students who are in emotional/mental distress should refer to Health and Wellness @Western for a complete list of options about how to obtain help. 


Please contact the course instructor if you require material in an alternate format or if you require any other arrangements to make this course more accessible to you. You may also contact Accessible Education at  or 519-661-2147. 


2.1 Online Learning Notice: 
Please note: For courses delivered in an online format, include an online component, or are required to pivot online, students must have a reliable internet connection and computer that are compatible with online learning system requirements. Some courses may also require the use of a remote proctoring platform to ensure assessments are taken fairly in accordance with Western’s policy on Scholastic Discipline for Undergraduate Students and Scholastic Discipline for Graduate Students. Please refer to the course syllabus for further information. 




All course resources including the online books below will be available on the Western OWL meta-analysis course website. Software resources (for R metafor, Jamovi with MAJOR module, and Stata will also be included in the OWL course website.  


Cooper, H. (2017). Research synthesis and meta-analysis. A step-by-step approach. Fifth edition. Los Angeles: Sage. 


Secondary resource (more advanced): 


Lakens, D. (2022). Improving Your Statistical Inferences. Retrieved from (see especially chapters 6-7 and 11-12). 




The objective of this course is to complete a psychology honors thesis using meta-analytic procedures as part of a systematic review project. This thesis option is a major research project in psychology carried out by 4th year honors psychology students under the supervision of the course instructor. In the first few weeks, students will identify and develop individual research topics in consultation with the instructor. Students will be guided in weekly step-by step short lessons on meta-analytic procedures as well as hands-on exercises addressing each component of the overall project. Students will be expected to maintain a structured routine in line with the course schedule and consult with the instructor on a regular basis to monitor their progress and address any challenge.   




Learning Outcome  

Learning Activity  


Depth and Breadth of Knowledge  

  • Articulate the current state of knowledge, key concepts and main research themes and issues in the major content domain(s) relevant to the individual meta-analysis thesis research project 
  • Improved understanding of research methods, statistical analysis, measurement, and the cumulative nature of science 



  • Researching, reading and evaluating the empirical literature 
  • Regular group discussions, comparing content topics and research problems  
  • Regular consultations with instructor or TA  




  • Systematic review of a topic implies a comprehensive literature review on a particular topic.  
  • Written reports on separate components of the project  
  • Complete thesis document 
  • Class presentation of individual project  
  • Poster presentation with all honours thesis students 


Knowledge of Methodologies  

  • Access, interpret and critically evaluate research resources relevant to the project 
  • Formulate research hypotheses and/or questions to address the main topic 
  • Understand the sequence of steps to conduct high quality meta-analyses 



  • Researching, reading and evaluating the empirical literature 
  • Writing an initial research proposal  
  • Writing the methods section of their project 



  • Written reports (Proposal, Introduction, Methods, Results section and interpretation of analyses, Discussion, Full thesis document) 
  • Class presentation 
  • Poster presentation 

Application of Knowledge  

  • Apply data collection methods consisting of systematic searches, extracting information, and evaluating quality of studies 
  • Apply relevant statistical techniques to extract relevant quantitative information, conduct analyses, report and interpret findings  
  • Engage in scholarly discussion on topics relevant to honours thesis project 


  • Regular group discussions, comparing content topics, methods and analytic strategies 
  • Conducting all stages of research for the meta-analysis project 
  • Writing draft reports of different sections of the overall thesis document 


  • Written reports (Proposal, Introduction, Methods, Results section and interpretation of analyses, Discussion, Full thesis document) 
  • Class presentation 
  • Poster presentation 
  • Class participation 

Communication Skills  

  • Communicate in writing accurately, clearly and logically, using the discourse of psychology 
  • Communicate orally accurately, clearly and logically, using the discourse of psychology 
  • Develop psychology conference presentation skills (i.e., present a research project live (in-person) in front of an audience and respond orally to audience questions) 


  • Class writing exercises for all sections of the thesis 
  • Feedback provided on introduction, methods, results and interpretation prior to submission of full thesis document 
  • Feedback on class presentation and poster 
  • Consultation with instructor or TA 


  • Written reports (Proposal, Introduction, Methods, Results section and interpretation of analyses, Discussion, Full thesis document) 
  • Class presentation 
  • Poster presentation 
  • Class participation 

Awareness of Limits of Knowledge 

  • Recognize the limits of knowledge at all stages of the research process 
  • Understand the limitations of the strengths and limitations of the methods in research design, measurement, and analysis 


  • In class discussions of these limitations 
  • Inclusion of limitation sections where appropriate in different sections of the thesis  


  • Written reports (Proposal, Introduction, Methods, Results section and interpretation of analyses, Discussion, Full thesis document) 
  • Class presentation 
  • Poster presentation 
  • Class participation 

Autonomy and Professional Capacity 

  • Demonstrate an appropriate level of effort, attention to detail as required in meta-analysis work and professionalism in communication with colleagues, instructor and TA 
  • Show initiative and autonomy in executing each phase of the thesis project 


  • Completing assignment on time 
  • Engagement in lectures and group discussion 
  • Regular monthly meetings with course instructor or TA 


  • Class participation 





The overall course is structured into a series of weekly step-by-step building blocks to help guide the students through the complete thesis project. Each class will be divided into a lecture presenting foundational knowledge and a lab session dedicated to group discussions and writing exercises addressing a specific part of the overall project (e.g., how to develop a set of keywords and phrases for the literature search). Students will also be expected to meet on at least a monthly basis to discuss progress with the instructor (or teaching assistant). 





  1. Formulating the problem [5%]. A two-page summary (about 500 words double spaced plus references) of the proposed project consisting of an introduction of the topic, why the topic is important, gap in the literature, research questions, and a preliminary and general assessment of the breadth of the empirical literature.  


  1. Full introduction [10%]. The introduction should be at least 8 double spaced pages (about 2000 words or more plus references) written in APA style 7th edition. The introduction will build on the first assignment and provide a more comprehensive literature review focusing on the research questions. 


  1. Study search report and study database [10%]. A two-page report including (1) a list of the databases and other sources used in your study searches, (2) a list of the keyword searches, (3) a description of the inclusion and exclusion criteria, and (4) a link to your database of downloaded abstracts.  


  1. Coding template/database and preliminary coding including codes for study quality of at least 10 studies [5%]. A two-page report that lists and describes the variables in your meta-analysis. This report should also include a link to your datafile of coded studies. 


  1. Method section [5%]. This section will build on the two previous assignments and will include a figure consisting of a PRISMA Flowchart outlining the steps from the initial identification of potential studies, the screening phase, and the final set of studies selected for the meta-analysis. It is expected that the method section will be approximately 6 to 10 double spaced pages including the figure. Note that at this point you are not expected to necessarily have completed all your coding, and therefore your PRISMA Flowchart can be adjusted later.  


  1. Completion of coding and interrater reliability/agreement [5%]. This assignment will include a link to your completed datafile of coded study information, ready for the meta-analysis as well as the reliability coded data by a second student in the course.  


  1. Results section [10%]. This section will consist of your description of the meta-analysis including tables and the different figures such as the forest-plot. The length of the results section is expected to range between 6 to 10 double-spaced pages including the tables and figures.  


  1. Class presentation [5%]. Individual 10-min max presentations will be scheduled in the two classes before Poster Day and will serve as practice and preparation for that day event. Students can present preliminary sections of their poster using 6 to 8 slides. 


  1. Poster [10%]. Presentation of thesis research in a poster form on Poster Day with other sections of the Honours Thesis course. Precise details regarding poster preparations will be given in class. Posters will be graded by the supervisor and a second reader, with their averaged marks contributing 10% of the final grade in the course. 


  1. Complete project [25%]. A rubric for the complete written thesis will be presented in class. The final thesis will be marked by the thesis supervisor and a second reader, with their averaged marks contributing 25% of the final grade in the course. 


  1. Participation. [10%]. Part of this mark [5%] will be based on class attendance and engagement in group discussions. The other 5% will be allocated for serving as a second rater/coder for another student’s meta-analysis in the course. This assignment will be described in detail in class and will involve coding a small subset of studies for another student in the class. 



Late Penalties.  Please note that all assignments must be completed by their due date – there are no extensions. Accordingly, late penalties will be assessed for assignments not completed in time (10% of the worth of that assignment will be deducted for each day you are late). You are responsible for ensuring that the final copies of your assignments are correctly uploaded on time.  





Because this is an essay course, as per Senate Regulations, you must pass the essay component to pass the course. That is, the average mark for your written assignments must be at least 50%. 


The expectation for course grades within the Psychology Department is that they will be distributed around the following averages: 


70% 1000-level to 2099-level courses 

72% 2100-2999-level courses 

75% 3000-level courses 

80% 4000-level courses 


The Psychology Department follows Western’s grading guidelines, which are as follows (see: 


A+ 90-100 One could scarcely expect better from a student at this level 

A 80-89 Superior work that is clearly above average 

B 70-79 Good work, meeting all requirements, and eminently satisfactory 

C 60-69 Competent work, meeting requirements 

D 50-59 Fair work, minimally acceptable 

F below 50 Fail 


Note that in the event that course grades are significantly higher or lower than these averages, instructors may be required to make adjustments to course grades. Such adjustment might include the normalization of one or more course components and/or the re-weighting of various course components. 


Policy on Grade Rounding: Please note that although course grades within the Psychology Department are rounded to the nearest whole number, no further grade rounding will be done. No additional assignments will be offered to enhance a final grade; nor will requests to change a grade because it is needed for a future program be considered. To maximize your grade, do your best on each and every assessment within the course. 




Oct 6. Formulating problem. [5%]  

Oct 27. Full introduction. [10%] 

Nov 10. Search report and study database [10%] 

Nov 24. Coding template and preliminary coding of at least 10 studies [5%] 

Dec 8. Method section [5%] 


Jan 19. Completion of coding and interrater reliability [5%] 

Feb 16. Results section [10%] 

March 8-15. Class presentation [5%] 

March 22. Poster [10%]  

April 8 Complete project [25%] 


Participation. [10%] 





Sep 8. Overview of meta-analysis 


Cooper. Ch1. Introduction 


Moreau, D., & Gamble, B. (2022). Conducting a meta-analysis in the age of open science: Tools, tips, and practical recommendations. Psychological Methods, 27(3), 426-432. 


Sep 15. Identifying and choosing a topic 


Cooper. Ch2. Formulating the problem 


Sep 22. Steps in a meta-analysis  


Cooper. Ch1. Introduction 


Pigott, T. D., & Polanin, J. R. (2020). Methodological guidance paper: High-quality meta-analysis in a systematic review. Review of Educational Research, 90(1), 24-46. 


Page, M. J., Moher, D., Bossuyt, P. M. et al. (2021). PRISMA 2020 explanation and elaboration: Updated guidance and exemplars for reporting systematic reviews. BMJ. British Medical Journal (International Ed.), 372, n160–n160. 


Sep 29. Research designs, effect sizes, sampling and standard error 


Cooper. Ch6. (pp. 209-226). Analyzing and Integrating the Outcomes of Studies  

Lakens (online book). Chapters 6-7 


Lakens, D. (2013). Calculating and reporting effect sizes to facilitate cumulative science: a practical primer for t-tests and ANOVAs. frontiers in Psychology. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00863 


Oct 6. Effect sizes continued (mean differences) [Formulating problem 5%] 


Cooper. Ch6. (pp. 209-226). Analyzing and Integrating the Outcomes of Studies  


Lakens (online book). Chapters 6-7 


Lakens, D. (2013). Calculating and reporting effect sizes to facilitate cumulative science: a practical primer for t-tests and ANOVAs. frontiers in Psychology. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00863 


Oct 13. Finding studies. Databases and software 


Cooper. Ch3. Searching the Literature 


Gusenbauer, M., & Haddaway, N. R. (2020). Which academic search systems are suitable for systematic reviews or meta-analyses? Evaluating retrieval qualities of Google Scholar, PubMed, and 26 other resources. Research Synthesis Methods, 11, 181-217. DOI: 10.1002/jrsm.1378 


Oct 20. Finding studies. Systematic searches 


Cooper. Ch3. Searching the Literature 


Moreau, D., & Gamble, B. (2022). Conducting a meta-analysis in the age of open science: Tools, tips, and practical recommendations. Psychological Methods, 27(3), 426-432. (see their supplementary templates) 


Oct 27. Collecting information from studies. Inclusion criteria; [Full introduction 10%] 


Cooper. Ch4. Gathering Information from Studies 


Nov 10. Collecting information from studies; coding database [Search report and datafile 10%] 


Cooper. Ch4. Gathering Information from Studies 

Cooper. Ch5. Evaluating the Quality of Studies 


Nov 17. Coding the effect sizes, moderators, and other variables  


Cooper. Ch4. Gathering Information from Studies 

Cooper. Ch5. Evaluating the Quality of Studies 


Nov 24. Interrater reliability [Preliminary coding at least 10 studies 5%] 



Dec 1. Overview of meta-analysis software and procedures  


Cooper. Ch6. Analyzing and Integrating the Outcomes of Studies  


Lakens (online book). Chapters 11-12 



Dec 8. Importing/preparing the data file for analysis [Method section 5%] 

Cooper. Ch6. Analyzing and Integrating the Outcomes of Studies 


Jan 12. Producing main results: forest plots, estimates of variability [


Cooper. Ch6. Analyzing and Integrating the Outcomes of Studies 


Jan 19. Analysis continued: moderation and meta-regression [completion of coding interrater agreement/reliability 5%]


Cooper. Ch6. Analyzing and Integrating the Outcomes of Studies 


Jan 26. Analysis continued: bias (funnel plots)  


Cooper. Ch6. Analyzing and Integrating the Outcomes of Studies 


Feb 2. Preparation of tables and figures  


Several examples of published meta-analysis articles will be used for this topic and the next three. These will be available in the OWL course site 


Feb 9. Interpretation of results and writing the results section  


Feb 16. Writing a discussion section and preparing a poster [Results section and output 10%] 


Mar 1. Writing the full thesis paper 


Mar 8. Individual 10 min class presentations. [Class presentations 5%] 


Mar 15. Individual 10 min class presentations. 


Mar 22. Poster presentation [10%] 


Mar 29. Good Friday no class 


April 5. Remaining Q & A session [Complete project 25% due April 8]  






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As of Sept. 1, 2009, the Department of Psychology will take the following steps to detect scholastic offences. All multiple-choice tests and exams will be checked for similarities in the pattern of responses using reliable software, and records will be made of student seating locations in all tests and exams. All written assignments will be submitted to TurnItIn, a service designed to detect and deter plagiarism by comparing written material to over 5 billion pages of content located on the Internet or in TurnItIn’s databases. All papers submitted for such checking will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement, currently between Western and ( 


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Possible penalties for a scholastic offence include failure of the assignment/exam, failure of the course, suspension from the University, and expulsion from the University. 



Tests and examinations for online courses will be conducted using a remote proctoring service. By taking this course, you are consenting to the use of this software and acknowledge that you will be required to provide personal information (including some biometric data) and the session will be recorded.  Completion of this course will require you to have a reliable internet connection and a device that meets the technical requirements for this service. More information about this remote proctoring service, including technical requirements, is available on Western’s Remote Proctoring website at: 

In the event that in-person exams are unexpectedly canceled, you may only be given notice of the use of a proctoring service a short time in advance. 



Western’s policy on Accommodation for Medical Illness can be found at: 


If you experience an extenuating circumstance (e.g., illness, injury) sufficiently significant to temporarily make you unable to meet academic requirements, you may request accommodation through the following routes:  

  1. For medical absences, submitting a Student Medical Certificate (SMC) signed by a licensed medical or mental health practitioner in order to be eligible for Academic Consideration;  
  1. For non-medical absences, submitting appropriate documentation (e.g., obituary, police report, accident report, court order, etc.) to Academic Counselling in their Faculty of registration in order to be eligible for academic consideration. Students are encouraged to contact their Academic Counselling unit to clarify what documentation is appropriate. 


Students must see the Academic Counsellor and submit all required documentation in order to be approved for certain accommodation. 


Students seeking academic consideration: 

  • are advised to consider carefully the implications of postponing tests or midterm exams or delaying handing in work;   
  • must communicate with their instructors no later than 24 hours after the end of the period covered SMC, or immediately upon their return following a documented absence 


Students seeking accommodation for religious purposes are advised to contact Academic Counselling at least three weeks prior to the religious event and as soon as possible after the start of the term. 




In the event of a COVID-19 resurgence or any other event that necessitates the course delivery moving away from face-to-face interaction, all remaining course content will be delivered entirely online, either synchronously (i.e., at the times indicated in the timetable) or asynchronously (e.g., posted on OWL for students to view at their convenience). The grading scheme will not change. Any remaining assessments will also be conducted online, as determined by the course instructor. 




In courses involving online interactions, the Psychology Department expects students to honour the following rules of etiquette: 

  • please “arrive” to class on time 
  • please use your computer and/or laptop if possible (as opposed to a cell phone or tablet) 
  • please ensure that you are in a private location to protect the confidentiality of discussions in the event that a class discussion deals with sensitive or personal material 
  • to minimize background noise, kindly mute your microphone for the entire class until you are invited to speak, unless directed otherwise 
  • In classes larger than 30 participants please turn off your video camera for the entire class unless you are invited to speak 
  • In classes of 30 students or fewer, where video chat procedures are being used, please be prepared to turn your video camera off at the instructor’s request if the internet connection becomes unstable 
  • Unless invited by your instructor, do not share your screen in the meeting 


The course instructor will act as moderator for the class and will deal with any questions from participants. To participate please consider the following: 

  • If you wish to speak, use the “raise hand” function and wait for the instructor to acknowledge you before beginning your comment or question. 
  • Please remember to unmute your microphone and turn on your video camera before speaking. 
  • Self-identify when speaking. 
  • Please remember to mute your mic and turn off your video camera after speaking (unless directed otherwise). 


General considerations of “netiquette”: 

  • Keep in mind the different cultural and linguistic backgrounds of the students in the course. 
  • Be courteous toward the instructor, your colleagues, and authors whose work you are discussing. 
  • Be respectful of the diversity of viewpoints that you will encounter in the class and in your readings. The exchange of diverse ideas and opinions is part of the scholarly environment. “Flaming” is never appropriate. 
  • Be professional and scholarly in all online postings. Use proper grammar and spelling. Cite the ideas of others appropriately. 


Note that disruptive behaviour of any type during online classes, including inappropriate use of the chat function, is unacceptable. Students found guilty of Zoom-bombing a class or of other serious online offenses may be subject to disciplinary measures under the Code of Student Conduct. 




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Psychology Undergraduate Program: 


If you wish to appeal a grade, please read the policy documentation at: 

Please first contact the course instructor. If your issue is not resolved, you may make your appeal to the Undergraduate Chair in Psychology ( 


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