Issues in meta-analysis: An overview

Authors

  • Alfred A. Bartolucci PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, and Division of Immunology and Rheumatology, School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama
    • Department of Biostatistics, Room 101 Bishop Building, 900 19th Street South, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294–2030
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Charles R. Katholi PhD,

    1. Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, and Division of Immunology and Rheumatology, School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Karan P. Singh PhD,

    1. Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, and Division of Immunology and Rheumatology, School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Graciela S. Alarcón MD, MPH

    1. Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, and Division of Immunology and Rheumatology, School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

A summary is provided for the relevant issues that investigators must address when wishing to synthesize data via a meta-analysis. The analogy is made to conducting a clinical trial and its components. Both design and statistical issues are discussed with the goal of assuring that the proper elements are included in the meta-analysis. Further, global concerns are presented so that the researcher is aware of the clinical controversies faced when conducting a meta-analysis. Finally a comparison is made of the advantages and disadvantages of a large-scale clinical trial versus a meta-analysis.

Ancillary