Integrative data analysis: the simultaneous analysis of multiple data sets

Psychol Methods. 2009 Jun;14(2):81-100. doi: 10.1037/a0015914.


There are both quantitative and methodological techniques that foster the development and maintenance of a cumulative knowledge base within the psychological sciences. Most noteworthy of these techniques is meta-analysis, which allows for the synthesis of summary statistics drawn from multiple studies when the original data are not available. However, when the original data can be obtained from multiple studies, many advantages stem from the statistical analysis of the pooled data. The authors define integrative data analysis (IDA) as the analysis of multiple data sets that have been pooled into one. Although variants of IDA have been incorporated into other scientific disciplines, the use of these techniques is much less evident in psychology. In this article the authors present an overview of IDA as it may be applied within the psychological sciences, discuss the relative advantages and disadvantages of IDA, describe analytic strategies for analyzing pooled individual data, and offer recommendations for the use of IDA in practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection / methods
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Humans
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic*
  • Research / statistics & numerical data
  • Research Design*