Meta-Analysys in Context:
Charles R. Berger
As the chapters of this volume amply demonstrate, meta-analytic techniques serve a useful function in assessing the degree of empirical support for relations between variables and the extent to which these relations may be moderated by other factors. The utility of meta-analytic reviews for those with applied communication concerns is obvious. A public policy, a course of intervention, or a therapeutic strategy should not be based on variables that have no demonstrated relation with the outcome variables of interest. The studies concerned with communication apprehension persuasively make this point. Combinations of therapies for dealing with communication apprehension are more effective in reducing this potentially debilitating condition than is any one therapy by itself (Allen, Hunter, & Donohue, 1989). Obviously, results like these have immediate and important implications for those interested in developing programs to reduce the communication apprehension individuals experience in a wide variety of communication contexts. Other meta-analytic reviews cited in this volume report findings with similar immediate practical consequences.