About the Meta-Analysis Course  »  Overview

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What We Cover
This three-day workshop follows the same approach we employed in the best-selling text, Introduction to Meta-Analysis (Wiley, 2009).

The first day we deal primarily with conceptual issues in meta-analysis. We start by explaining what a meta-analysis is and how it should be performed. We introduce the two common statistical models (fixed-effect and random-effects), explain how to choose between them, and how the choice of a model affects the results. We introduce participants to the computer program Comprehensive Meta-Analysis (CMA), which automates all steps in a meta-analysis, from computing effect sizes to creating a publication-quality forest plot.

The second day we focus on more advanced issues, addressing these conceptually and also from a practical "How to" perspective. These issues include using subgroups-analysis to compare the effect size in different subgroups of studies, and using meta-regression to assess the relationship between covariates and effect size.

The third day we discuss working with complex data sets. These include studies that report effects for more than one subgroup of people, studies that report results for more than one outcome, and studies that report results at more than one time-point. It also includes studies that compare two or more treatment groups to a common control group. We also discuss publication bias, the question of when it makes sense to perform a meta-analysis, and how to use a cumulative meta-analysis.

At the conclusion of each topic we discuss common mistakes related to that topic, and how to avoid them. Throughout the course we focus on concepts rather than formulas. Researchers and clinicians with relatively little statistical background should be able to follow all materials without any problem. At the same time, statisticians are likely to have a series of "Aha" moments and walk away with a thorough grasp of the statistics underlying the concepts.

All participants will understand how to read and critique a meta-analysis, to perform a meta-analysis using the CMA software, and to report meta-analysis.

What We Do Not Cover
A systematic review is a lengthy process that includes formulating a research problem, searching the literature, deciding which studies to include in the synthesis, and then performing the statistical analysis, called the meta-analysis. This workshop focuses only on this last step, the meta-analysis.

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"Thank you very much for the wonderful workshop at Kent State University. I really enjoyed it. I particularly like the way you organize the course, starting with the concept, then applications and examples, and finally common mistakes."

Jingzhen (Ginger) Yang, PhD, MPH - Associate Professor, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, College of Public Health, Kent State University

"Being the lecturer for the course on meta‐analysis for the JSSS in Cambridge [the Social Science Research Methods Course programme, a shared platform for providing research students with a broad range of quantitative and qualitative research methods skills that are relevant across the social sciences], I am really forward looking forward to familiarising students with the programme. I found CMA unbelievably flexible‐‐and it wouldn't take students long to familiarise with it given how user‐friedly the programme is."

Dr. Maria M. Ttofi - Leverhulme and Newton Trust Fellow, Post‐doctoral Researcher, Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge Research Fellow, Wolfson College

"Comprehensive Meta‐Analysis is a fabulous program for research synthesis, combining ease of use with advanced features not available in standard statistical packages or competing stand‐alone products. The program is ideal for independent analysis or reanalyzing data from another published review (including Cochrane reviews) to explore subgroups, moderator variables, and clinically relevant measures of effect size. Forest and funnel plots can be easily created and customized for publicationquality graphics. As editor in chief of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, I find the program indispensable for preparing a quarterly installment, The Cochrane Corner, which highlights a relevant Cochrane review and provides expert commentary to aid clinicians in applying and understanding the results. I strongly recommend this program to novice and experienced meta‐analysts alike."

Richard M. Rosenfeld, MD, MPH - Professor and Chairman of Otolaryngology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY, Journal Editor and Chair, Guideline Development Task Force, American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery

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