Meta-Essentials: workbooks for meta-analysis


Please note that a paper describing the Meta-Essentials tool has been published in Research Synthesis Methods. Besides a general introduction and a more technical comparison to other meta-analysis tools, this paper also includes a short tutorial that you may find useful if you are just starting with meta-analysis in Meta-Essentials. From now on, we also ask that you cite this paper (see below) rather than the user manual if you use the tool in any publications.


Meta-Essentials is a free tool for meta-analysis. It facilitates the integration and synthesis of effect sizes from different studies. The tool consists of a set of workbooks designed for Microsoft Excel that, based on your input, automatically produces all the required statistics, tables, figures, and more. The workbooks can be downloaded from here. We also provide a user manual to guide you in using the tool (PDF / online) and a text on how to interpret the results of meta-analyses (PDF / online). 

Meta-Essentials has evolved into a tool that can be used for both research and teaching purposes. Especially for relatively straightforward meta-analyses (excluding for instance meta-regressions and meta-sem), Meta-Essentials is a very easy and intuitive tool to use. 

Please also see our Frequently Asked Questions. If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

We designed Meta-Essentials for Microsoft Excel. However, Meta-Essentials also works with the freely available WPS Office 2016 Free and Microsoft Excel Online (free registration required). We are currently working on a version for LibreOffice.


License and Use

The workbooks and the user manual are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. That means you can use, share, and adapt the tools all you want, as long as you properly attribute the original effort to us.

If you use this tool for any type of publication, please cite it as follows:

  • Suurmond R, van Rhee, H, Hak T. (2017). Introduction, comparison and validation of Meta-Essentials: A free and simple tool for meta-analysis. Research Synthesis Methods. 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1002/jrsm.1260

However, if you refer to the material on the website or the user manual in particular, please cite as follows:

  • Van Rhee, H.J., Suurmond, R., & Hak, T. (2015). User manual for Meta-Essentials: Workbooks for meta-analysis (Version 1.0) Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Erasmus Research Institute of Management. Retrieved from www.erim.eur.nl/research-support/meta-essentials