The Methodology of the Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Meta-analysis is a term that refers to the statistical analysis of a dataset derived from several individual studies, aimed at summarizing the current knowledge and reaching more definitive conclusions on a research topic. Meta-analysis includes all the steps of a systematic review, but additional statistical analysis is performed on the new dataset and interpretation is made of the composite results. This article aimed to provide health care scientists with guidelines on the correct way of performing a systematic review of the literature and how to proceed further with a meta-analysis of the studies reviewed. The methodological aspects of performing a meta-analysis were covered, including all the steps that should be followed, such as the appropriate statistical methods, the recognition of possible bias and control for heterogeneity among the studies reviewed. In addition the appropriate structure and hypothetical content of an article created through a systematic review and meta-analysis were presented. The performance of a meta-analysis and the appropriate presentation of the results can contribute significantly to scientific progress because they constitute the most accurate way of evaluating published knowledge and reaching more valid conclusions on a research topic. It is hoped that this article will generate further interest in meta-analysis among the nursing research community and will provide the methodological basis for future meta-analyses.

Category: Volume 49, N 2
Hits: 44 Hits
Created Date: 15-06-2010
Authors: Evridiki Patelarou , Hero Brokalaki