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Systematic Reviews in Education Research: When Do Effect Studies Provide Evidence?

Chris Van Klaveren & Inge De Wolf


Systematic reviews often include studies based on rather ad hoc inclusion criteria that may lead to inconcistencies in the outcomes generated by these reviews. This study therefore derives a set of inclusion criteria from the theoretical literature on causal inference. It, furthermore, presents a list of study characteristics that reviews should minimally provide (if possible). By comparing the derived inclusion criteria in this study with the inclusion criteria used in several educational reviews, we conclude that the generated outcomes of systematic reviews frequently rely on rather incomplete and inconsistent inclusion criteria.

JEL Code: I20, C01.
Keywords: causal inference, systematic reviews, education.

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