An introduction to meta-analysis

Learning objectives:

  • Be able to explain the difference between meta-analyses and systematic reviews
  • Understand that meta-analysis is a two stage-process involving (a) computing summary statistics for each trial, (b) averaging the summary statistics
  • Understand why simply adding up data from individual studies is inappropriate
  • Understand that a full analysis also involves proper consideration of the consistency of trial results
  • Be able to name and explain the main characteristics of a forest plot