Meta-analysis, the systematic and quantitative synthesis of evidence, has developed considerably in the 1990s and is emerging as an important methodology in medical decision making.
As a research methodology, meta-analysis has benefits and limitations that must be acknowledged in its application.
Examples of benefits : The benefits of meta-analysis include the ability to improve the power of small or inconclusive studies to answer questions and the ability to identify sources of diversity across various types of studies.
Meta-analysis may reveal how heterogeneity among populations affects the effectiveness of medical interventions in different setttings and in different patients.
It can also help detect biases, such as publication bias and « Tower of Babel » bias, as well as deficiences in the design, conduct, analysis, and interpretation of research.
In this way, it can also stimulate improvements in the quality of the data needed to optimize medical care.
Meta-analysis cannot improve the quality or reporting of the original studies.
Other limitations come from misapplications of the method, such as when study diversity is ignored or mishandled in the analysis or when the variability of patient populations, the quality of the data, and the potential for underlying biases are not addressed. (...)
Mots-clés Pascal : Méthodologie, Médecine, Recherche scientifique, Biais méthodologique, Epidémiologie, Méthode étude, Qualité, Donnée statistique, Connaissance, Synthèse, Aide décision
Mots-clés Pascal anglais : Methodology, Medicine, Scientific research, Methodological bias, Epidemiology, Investigation method, Quality, Statistical data, Knowledge, Synthesis, Decision aid
Notice produite par :
ORS Auvergne - Observatoire Régional de la Santé d'Auvergne
Code Inist : 002B30A11. Création : 14/12/1999.