Meta-analysis provides a systematic and quantitative approach to the summary of results from randomized studies. Whilst many authors have published actual meta-analyses concerning specific therapeutic questions, less has been published about comprehensive methodology. This article presents a general parametric approach, which utilizes efficient score statistics and Fisher's information, and relates this to different methods suggested by previous authors. Normally distributed, binary, ordinal and survival data are considered. Both the fixed effects and random effects model for treatments are described.