Chapter 8. Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses

  1. Allan Hackshaw Deputy Director1,2

Published Online: 29 APR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444311723.ch8

A Concise Guide to Clinical Trials

A Concise Guide to Clinical Trials

How to Cite

Hackshaw, A. (2009) Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses, in A Concise Guide to Clinical Trials, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444311723.ch8

Author Information

  1. 1

    Cancer Research, UK

  2. 2

    UCL Cancer Trials Centre, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 29 APR 2009
  2. Published Print: 10 APR 2009

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405167741

Online ISBN: 9781444311723



  • large trials – provide robust results, allowing unambiguous conclusions;
  • Systematic reviews – narratives based on selected papers;
  • individual patient data (IPD);
  • meta-analysis – combining the effect sizes into a single estimate using a statistical technique


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • The need for systematic reviews of clinical trials

  • What is a systematic review?

  • Sources of published systematic reviews

  • Interpreting systematic reviews

  • Considerations when reading a systematic review

  • Why systematic reviews are important

  • Key points

  • References

  • Further reading on systematic reviews and meta-analysis