Yeah meta studies. Meh. I mean they’re cute. “Let’s look for patterns in the existing data”.
But to me, that’s interesting statistical work, not science… not really. It’s the kind of stuff people do for newspapers and sociology and for designing public policy and such.
Oh well. When it comes to it, not a whole lot REALLY changes in Science. Most of the stuff we figured out 100+ years ago is still mostly true enough and the stuff that we argue about is minutia.
“New studies” keep ppl busy, either confirming common sense (which is what Science usually does best – telling us what we already know) or finding some “shocking” thing that, when you prick beneath the surface, turns out to be a load of crap that gets media coverage because it’s novel or, more likely, has a political taint to it. Sells newspapers, solves the publish-or-perish issue and helps increase funding for next year.
Rehashing common sense in different ways seems to pump out papers.
Pick any ol’ proverb and do a study. Pick a confusius say or folk wisdom, grab a few people, ask a few questions, do it in a scientific format, and you’ll get published.
That part isn’t so bad. It’s when people go LOOK PPL – IT’S SCIENCE! and get excited ’cause it’s science…y. sciency Yeah. Sciency.