Meta-analyses of data arising from systematic reviews are increasingly used for evidence-based clinical and public health practice. Health-care professionals need to understand and critique this research design.
This course will present a detailed description of the meta-analysis process, discuss the strengths, potential bias and limitations of this design, and provide step-by-step guidance on how to actually perform and report a meta-analysis.
We will focus on issues relevant to meta-analyses of observational studies although the overall methodology is highly applicable to meta-analyses of randomized trials as well. In particular, there will be discussion about issues such as adjustment for confounders, aggregating data from different observational designs, assessing small-study effects.