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Theoretical articles are papers in which the author presents a new theory in any area of Psychology. Typically, the author may analyze existing theory, pointing out limitations and analyzing internal and external consistency.

Review articles are critical evaluations which organize, integrate, and evaluate previously published material. They should include a definition of the problem; a summary of previous research; identification of relationships, contradictions, gaps and inconsistencies; and suggest future research directions.

The organization of the manuscript is especially important in theoretical and review articles and is usually ordered around a conceptual framework or by chronology. Besides the previous considerations, the General Instructions to Authors should be followed in the preparation of the manuscripts.

Meta-analysis studies quantitatively integrate the results of different studies on a specific research problem. The following information should be included in each section of the paper: 

■ The label “meta-analysis”. 

■ A sentence stating the research problem.  
■ The study’s theoretical proposals.
■ The bibliographical sources of the search, the number of studies located and integrated, the joint estimate of the effect size and, if analyzed, the most relevant moderator variables.
■ The main conclusions.

■ Justification of the need for and relevance of the meta-analysis study.
■ The constructs and variables clearly and precisely described.
■ Complete description of the “state of the art”.  
■ The questions to be answered and the expected results are clearly expressed.

■ The inclusion and exclusion criteria of the studies.
■ Procedures for literature searches; indication of the bibliographical sources (formal and informal), keywords employed and result of the search (number of studies included and final simple size).
■ Study coding. Study characteristic coded to test its possible influence on the size of the effect.
■ Effect size index used to quantify the results of the studies and estimation methods in accordance with the statistical information included in the studies.
■ Techniques used for data analysis (fixed effects, random and/or mixed).

■ Information on the characteristics of the studies included in the meta-analysis.  
■ The effect sizes obtained are summarized in descriptive/exploratory formats.
■ Information about the procedures used to deal with outliers.
■ Joint estimate of the effect size, confidence intervals, homogeneity tests and weighting procedures; if appropriate, information on the sensitivity analysis performed.
■ Results of the analysis of the influence of the moderator variables on the effect size (ANOVAs and weighted regression analyses).

■ Interpretations and assessment of the results.  
■ The conclusions are closely linked to the theoretical proposals offered in the introduction.
■ The implications of the results are discussed, suggesting future developments both for research and applications.

■ The sources of the studies are marked with asterisks. 

For more information consult:  

Botella, J. and Gambara, H. (2006). Doing and reporting a meta-analysis. International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, 6(2), 425-440.

Marín-Martínez, F., Sánchez-Meca, J., Huedo-Medina, T.B. y Fernández-Guzmán, I. (2007). Meta-análisis: ¿Dónde estamos y hacia dónde vamos?. En A. Borges y P. Prieto (Eds.), Psicología y ciencias afines en los albores del siglo XXI (Homenaje al profesor Alfonso Sánchez Bruno) (pp. 87-102). Grupo Editorial Universitario.

The Editorial Board would like to thank Prof. Julio Sánchez-Meca for his helpful comments.