Answered By: Rachel Lerner
Last Updated: Aug 14, 2017     Views: 5

 

Meta-analysis is a powerful tool to cumulate and summarize the knowledge in a research field through statistical instruments, and to identify the overall measure of a treatment’s effect by combining several individual results. They are conducted to develop a single conclusion that has greater statistical power than a solo study. 

A meta-analysis will provide a conclusion that is statistically stronger than any single study because of its use of increased numbers of subjects, diversity of subjects or accumulated effects and results. However, some authors will have a difficult time identifying appropriate studies since not all studies provide adequate data for inclusion and analysis. Several decisions made when designing and performing a meta-analysis require personal judgment and expertise, thus creating personal biases or expectations that may influence the result. A meta-analysis also requires advanced statistical techniques.

Often, a systematic review will contain a meta-analysis, but not always.

To learn more about types of studies, visit our Resource Evaluation Research Guide

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