This course provides an introduction to the role of meta-analysis and systematic reviews in evidence-based medicine. Statistical and practical issues relating to the design and interpretation of meta-analyses and systematic reviews are emphasized. Selected topics include:
- What is a meta-analysis?
- Defining the research question
- Searching for and selecting studies for inclusion
- Statistical methods and interpretations
- Fixed and random effects models
- Performing meta-analyses in R
Advanced topics including meta-regression and incorporation of other study designs (prospective cohorts and cluster randomized trials) will also be discussed. This course is designed for participants with introductory knowledge of statistics and statistical computing, but no prior exposure to meta-analysis is expected. Statistical computing is performed in the R environment, thus some prior knowledge of R is an asset.