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How to Write Effective Meta-Analysis Research Papers

How to Write Effective Meta-Analysis Research Papers

What is Meta-Analysis Research Study?

Various studies are done on similar or approximately similar topics. These studies are done at different time-period and in different regions. Each study has its analysis. When a study combines and statistically analyzed the finding of various studies, such a study is termed as meta-analysis study. The purpose of a meta-analysis study is to integrate the findings of various studies done on almost similar topics.

In most cases, the studies involved in a meta-analysis are randomized, controlled clinical trials. Meta-analysis is done to arrive at the precise conclusion about the risk factor for a disease, the effect of treatment on the disease, or the use of specific treatment against the disease. Meta-analysis is also used to determine the quality of evidence present for a certain outcome related to disease or treatment.

Meta-analysis is usually more credible as compared to various other researches as they make use of various studies available on a similar research topic, analyze the difference in outcomes, and try to find the reason for variations.

How to Write Effective Meta-Analysis Research Papers?

Writing meta-analysis requires a lot of scrutinies and result in analysis. Following are the rules to be followed for writing the good and effective meta-analysis research paper:

Research question and type of meta-analysis: This is the first and one of the important steps for good meta-analysis. The author may use the PICO model i.e. population, intervention, comparison, and outcome to design a research question.

Establish inclusion and exclusion criteria: Before starting the meta-analysis, you should have a definite criterion in you’re and to select and reject studies. This can be done by establishing inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Detailed use of databases: The author should be well-versed with various databases. You should perform a comprehensive, organized and systematic literature search to find the relevant studies. Various databases include PubMed, Medline, ToxLine, and Index Medicus.

Use of various guidelines for meta-analysis: Various guidelines for conducting a meta-analysis are available. These include Meta-analysis of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (MOOSE) statements, Quality of Reports of Meta-analyses of Randomized Controlled Trials (QUORUM), and Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA).

Identifying statistical methods: The author should identify the best statistical methods for meta-analysis that significantly reduces biasness.

Detailed data and data integrity: Incorporate comprehensive data in your meta-analysis research paper. The quality of the study should also be good for accurate results.

Use of statistical software: The author should have access to various meta-statistics software to carry out statistical analysis. Help from a professional statistician can be taken for carrying analysis.

Coding forms: The author should define accurate coding forms to obtain relevant statistics. Good coding forms help in obtaining high-quality results.

Interpreting results and suggesting future scope: Pay special attention to the discussion part of the research paper. Through discussion, the author discusses the results of a meta-analysis in comparison to current literature. Future scope of meta-analysis helps to initiate new studies in the forward direction.

What is the Need of Meta-Analysis Study?

Meta-analysis finds its importance in different aspects of the research process. These include:

To simplify the complex data: Meta-analysis is done to simplify the complex data. Data from various studies are taken and analyzed statistically.  Further, meta-analysis provides a more complex data analysis related to outcome, safety, and efficacy.

Publications: Meta-analysis is required during the publication of the primary study in journals. Meta-analysis plays an important role in recognizing the outcomes available from the prior studies which are related to the research topic in context. Through meta-analysis, the researcher submits the prior data in the introduction of the primary research study.

Studies with conflicting results: Studies on a similar research topic may have conflicting results. For instance, some studies advocate the use of calcium in pre-eclampsia while other studies indicate that there is no effect of calcium supplementation on pre-eclampsia. A meta-analysis helps to establish statistical significance among these results.

Grant applications: Fund or grant is required to perform a new study. For preparing the proposal for the fund, meta-analysis is done to consolidate the available data and to determine the need for a new study.

Performing new studies: Meta-analysis analyzes all the relevant studies available on a specific research topic. This helps in determining the specific requirement for conducting a new study. Meta-analysis provides insight about which outcomes are already measured in prior data and which still requires an answer.

What are the Characteristics of Meta-Analysis Research Study?

Following are the characteristics of a meta-analysis research study:

Statistical method: Meta-analysis is done to establish statistical significance among the studies already done in a specific area of research with conflicting results. It helps in increasing the validity of differences in different studies. Meta-analysis requires detailed statistical skills.

Use of prior data: Meta-analysis does not initiate altogether new research i.e. it is not primary research. It uses the data from the studies that had already taken place.

Evidence evaluation: Meta-analysis is done to determine the strength of evidence present in the prior art in context to a specific area of research. It also helps in determining the need for new primary research.

Increased sample size: Many individual studies have a common problem of small sample size. This problem is solved through meta-analysis. A meta-analysis combines the samples of different studies to reach an accurate, valid and precise conclusion.

Different subsets: Meta-analysis evaluates the cause-effect relationship in different studies i.e. different subsets of the subjects. The result of meta-analysis can be extrapolated to a larger population.


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