KRISTAN A. L'ABBÉ, M.Sc.; ALLAN S. DETSKY, M.D., Ph.D.; KEITH O'ROURKE, M.B.A.
Meta-analysis is the process of combining study results that can be used to draw conclusions about therapeutic effectiveness or to plan new studies. We review important design and statistical issues of this process. The design issues include protocol development, objectives, literature search, publication bias, measures of study outcomes, and quality of the data. The statistical issues include consistency (homogeneity) of study outcomes, and techniques for pooling results from several studies. Guidelines are provided to assess the quality of meta-analyses based on our discussion of the design and statistical issues. Limitations and areas for further development of this approach are discussed; researchers should come to a general agreement on how to conduct meta-analysis. As an explicit strategy for summarizing results, meta-analysis may help clinicians and researchers better understand the findings of clinical studies.
Learn more about subscription options.
Register Now for a free account.
L'ABBÉ KA, DETSKY AS, O'ROURKE K. Meta-Analysis in Clinical Research. Ann Intern Med. 1987;107:224–233. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-107-2-224
Download citation file:
Published: Ann Intern Med. 1987;107(2):224-233.
Healthcare Delivery and Policy, Hospital Medicine, Prevention/Screening.
Results provided by:
Copyright © 2017 American College of Physicians. All Rights Reserved.
Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
Conditions of Use
This PDF is available to Subscribers Only