Meta-analysis: a critical appraisal of the methodology, benefits and drawbacks

Khan, Shahjahan ORCID: and Memon, Breda and Memon, Muhammed A. (2019) Meta-analysis: a critical appraisal of the methodology, benefits and drawbacks. British Journal of Hospital Medicine, 80 (11). pp. 636-641. ISSN 1750-8460


Meta-analysis has become an integral part of evidence-based decision-making processes and is being increasingly used in medical and non-medical disciplines. Aggregate data or summary statistics continue to be the mainstay of meta-analysis and are used by many professional societies to support clinical practice guidelines. Meta-analyses synthesize the summary statistics from independent trials by pooling them to estimate the underlying common effect size. The results represent the highest level of evidence but only if the chosen studies are of high quality and the selection criteria are fully satisfied. It is important to address the issues of defining an explicit and relevant question, exhaustively searching for the totality of evidence, meticulous and unbiased data transfer or extraction, assessment of between study heterogeneity and the use of appropriate statistical methods for estimating summary effect measures. This article reviews the methodology, benefits and drawbacks of performing a meta-analysis.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 37401
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to Published version, in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Sciences (6 Sep 2019 - 31 Dec 2021)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Institute for Resilient Regions - Centre for Health, Informatics and Economic Research (1 Aug 2018 - 31 Mar 2020)
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2019 01:42
Last Modified: 05 May 2021 04:36
Uncontrolled Keywords: meta-analysis, systematic review, evidence-based decision, meta-analytic models, level of evidence, evidence-informed
Fields of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1199 Other Medical and Health Sciences > 119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111706 Epidemiology
Fields of Research (2020): 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4299 Other health sciences > 429999 Other health sciences not elsewhere classified
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4202 Epidemiology > 420299 Epidemiology not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education
E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
Identification Number or DOI: doi:10.12968/hmed.2019.80.11.636

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only