Steps in Meta-analysis
Stepping Your Way through Effective Meta-data Analysis
Since meta-analysis is a subset (but not a requirement) of systematic reviews, basic steps are similar. Therefore, only point 6 is expanded upon. For more on the other points, see checklist for systematic reviews.
Formulate the research question
Develop and use an explicit, reproducible methodology (this step was done when meta-analysis was originally decided upon)
Develop and use clear inclusion/ exclusion criteria
Develop and use an explicit search strategy
Critically assess the validity of the findings in included studies
Analyse of findings across the studies – statistical analysis would involve decisions related to:
- the dependent and independent variables under review
- how studies will be weighted according to sample size
- how to conduct sensitivity analysis (the extent to which study results stay the same given different approaches to aggregating data)
- Synthesis and interpretation of results"