International Journal of Applied Research
Vol. 5, Special Issue 4, Part G (2019)
A new trend in research: Meta-Analysis
Meta-analysis is a collection of systematic technique for resolving apparent contradictions in research findings. It translates results from different studies to a common metric and statistically explores relations between study characteristics and findings. A systematic review answers a defined research question by collecting all empirical evidences that fits to pre specified eligibility criteria. Meta-analysis is also called conducting research about previous research. It has the capacity to contrast results from different studies besides providing an estimate of unknown common truth. There is a common truth behind all studies having same concept, but which has been measured with a certain error within individual studies. The aim is to use approaches from statistics to derive an estimate closest to that common truth which is yet unknown based on how this error is perceived. All existing methods yield a weighted average from the results of the individual studies. Only difference exists in the manner of allocation of weight age and computation of uncertainty. Meta-analysis identifies patterns among study results, sources of disagreement among those results or other interesting relationships that may come to light in the context of multiple studies. Meta-analysis can only proceed if we are able to identify a common statistical measure that is shared among studies also termed as Effect size which has a standard error so that we can proceed with computing a weighted average of that common measure. Such weighting usually takes into consideration the sample sizes of the individual studies although it can also include other factors such as quality of the study. The main benefit of Meta-analysis is the aggregation of information that further leads to higher statistical power and stronger estimate that is not possible by any individual study. But while performing Meta-analysis, an investigator must make choices that can affect its results including review of related literature, making objectives, delimitation of the study, analysis and interpretation of data etc. Meta-analysis is often an important component of systematic review of related literature, but not always.
How to cite this article:
Archana Vasudev. A new trend in research: Meta-Analysis. Int J Appl Res 2019;5(4S):222-224.