NIOO is one of the largest institutes within the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). With four departments – Animal, Aquatic, Microbial, and Terrestrial Ecology – NIOO leads top-quality interdisciplinary research. NIOO is situated opposite the Wageningen UR campus. See more at https://nioo.knaw.nl/
Meta-analysis (MA) is a powerful statistical tool for summarising findings of different studies on the same topic. So far, MA have been largely conducted using sets of published articles (primary articles) that (in an adequate way) address the topic of interest. However, changes in scientific practices (e.g. Open Science movement) lead to more and more datasets becoming available.
These datasets (that might or might not be related to published articles) can be used to enhance the MA. Because datasets are usually stored at (and thus available from) different sources then the articles are, modern MA should seek to incorporate these additional sources to gather all the data available on the topic of interest.
Evaluate the current state of MA in Terrestrial Ecology, Aquatic Ecology and Microbial Ecology and use these insights to suggest the best ways to improve upon the current situation
The student would participate in the collection and analysis of currently applied search strategies in biological meta-analysis. More specifically, the student will:
- Evaluate the extent to which current MA follow standardized guidelines (Transparency in Ecology and Evolution guidelines
- Quantify the importance of these MA to advancements in the field
- Map the breadth of search engines and platforms MA use to locate relevant literature
- Quantify the extent to which the original datasets were used in these MA, and for what purpose (as an independent source of data, or to support claims from the primary articles). Why were some dataset not used?
- Estimate the extent to which certain studies were not used in MA because the lack of access to the datasets
- Use the previous findings to guide future developments for improved MA
We are looking for a Master student with an enthusiasm for, and understanding of, the main concepts in ecological research and scientific review. The student should have the ability to concentrate on details and basic knowledge on scientific literature search. Statistical skills are desired but not mandatory.