Steps in Meta-analysis

Stepping Your Way through Effective Meta-data Analysis

  1. 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.

  2. Formulate the research question

  3. Develop and use an explicit, reproducible methodology (this step was done when meta-analysis was originally decided upon)

  4. Develop and use clear inclusion/ exclusion criteria

  5. Develop and use an explicit search strategy

  6. Critically assess the validity of the findings in included studies

  7. 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)
  1. Synthesis and interpretation of results"