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Meta Analysis Essay


Researchers usually employ various statistical approaches in their studies. One notable analytical technique is meta-analysis, which is not only quantitative and formal but also incorporates an epidemiological design that allows them to thoroughly examine previous materials to support the body of research (Willis and Riley 3287). A meta-analysis is, therefore, an examination of different scientific studies to find correlations and address any variations that are identified (Sund 163).

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The statistical approach is mostly performed when multiple scientific studies have some degree of error, and as such, a pooled estimate that is close to the unknown universal truth is derived. Copas (2012) reiterates and expounds on that aspect and notes that “Existing methods for meta-analysis yield a weighted average from the results of the individual studies, and what differs is the manner in which these weights are allocated and also the manner in which the uncertainty is computed round the point estimate thus generated” (p.53). Additionally, the meta-analysis also allows for the identification of the patterns and causes of variations in the scientific studies. Data analysis incorporates the application of various statistical approaches and tools amongst them being meta-analysis.

A meta-analysis as a statistical approach has various benefits. First, it allows for the aggregation of information that leads to not only a higher statistical power but also a more robust estimate (Polanin and Pigott 68). Secondly, the precision and accuracy of estimates from a meta-analysis can be improved using more data. Thirdly, it supports the quantification and analysis of inconsistencies identified from the results in the different studies. Last but not least, a meta-analysis also allows for investigation of publication bias (Cafri, Kromrey, and Brannick 250). This aspect is fundamental in ensuring the accuracy of published materials.

There are six distinct steps in a meta-analysis. The first step involves the formulation of the research question using the PICO model. The second step requires the identification of relevant literature on the study under investigation. The third step calls for the selection of the studies based on aspects, such as quality, and whether unpublished articles should be used in the research (Cafri, Kromrey, and Brannick 261). The fourth step entails deciding to use either dependent variable or summary measures. The fifth step involves the selection of a meta-analysis model. Lastly, it is essential to examine all the sources used for the purpose of heterogeneity.

Pharmaceutical companies commonly use meta-analysis during clinical trials in efforts to gain approval for new drugs (Willis and Riley 3290). It is also widely used in various disciplines, including criminal justice, genetics, political science, psychology, and economics, among others. Meta-analysis is also used extensively to plan for new studies and in grant applications. As such, this method of analysis has gained a wide range of application in industrial processes.

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Works Cited
Cafri, Guy, Jeffrey D. Kromrey, and Michael T. Brannick. “A Meta-Meta-Analysis: Empirical Review Of Statistical Power, Type I Error Rates, Effect Sizes, And Model Selection Of Meta-Analyses Published In Psychology.” Multivariate Behavioral Research 45.2 (2010): 239-270.
Copas, John B. “A Likelihood-Based Sensitivity Analysis For Publication Bias In Meta-Analysis.” Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series C (Applied Statistics) 62.1 (2012): 47-66.
Polanin, Joshua R., and Terri D. Pigott. “The Use Of Meta-Analytic Statistical Significance Testing.” Research Synthesis Methods 6.1 (2014): 63-73.
Sund, Reijo. “Meta-Analysis: A Structural Equation Modeling Approach.” International Statistical Review 84.1 (2016): 163-164.
Willis, Brian H., and Richard D. Riley. “Measuring The Statistical Validity Of Summary Meta-Analysis And Meta-Regression Results For Use In Clinical Practice.” Statistics in Medicine 36.21 (2017): 3283-3301.

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