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Tutoring Meta-analysis

During the Fall 2010 semester at KAUST, I tutored how to write a literature review to a Ph.D. student in Computer Science.  We explored key elements of the process of writing one, including (1) orientation; (2) selection criteria; (3) rhetorical moves; (4) choices of language, particularly verbs, verb tense, and verb aspect; (5) stance; and (6) paraphrasing strategies. One form of literature review is a meta-analysis. In order to best instruct the student in this form, Soheyb Kouider, a statistics instructor and I, planned, designed, and implemented a session together on the process and development of a meta-analysis. An example of a meta-analysis was performed on a dataset from published papers during the tutorial session. SPSS, a computerized statistics package was adapted and deployed for this purpose. The discussion of the meta-analysis was lively and interdisciplinary with Soheyb discussing the mathematical meaning of a meta-analysis; the PhD student, the computer programming significance; and I, the effect on disciplinary discourse for the sciences and technology.