Although nurses have begun to use meta‐analysis, a review of the nursing literature demonstrates that its use has not been maximized. Meta‐analysis can be employed to synthesize descriptive as well as experimental research, yet attention in nursing has focused almost exclusively on meta‐analysis techniques for, and meta‐analytic studies of, experimental research. Furthermore, nursing literature has emphasized use of the effect size index (d) rather than the correlation index (r); the latter may, in some cases, be the more suitable metric, particularly with meta‐analysis of correlational studies. An argument is made for the value of meta‐analysis as a technique for integrating descriptive research, and an overview of different meta‐analytic approaches to data analysis using the correlational index with descriptive research is provided.
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