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[Core] Introduction to meta-analysis 3: Dealing with heterogeneity

Date and Location




Monday 23 September 2013 - 13:30 - 15:00
Methods Group and core training

Methods Group

Statistical Methods Group
Contact persons and facilitators

Contact person

Georgia Salanti
Dimitris Mavridis
Anna Chaimani


Georgia Salanti
Areti Angeliki Ve...
Dimitris Mavridis
Anna Chaimani
Target audience

Target audience

Review authors

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Level of knowledge required

Type of workshop

Type of workshop

Abstract text


Objective: The Cochrane Statistical Methods Group has developed a series of workshops addressing statistical guidelines as formulated in the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. This workshop will provide review authors with the knowledge to understand and investigate variability across studies in a meta-analysis, and to recognise the limitations of the methods available. Description: This training workshop will address approaches to dealing with between-study variability, or heterogeneity, in the results of a series of clinical trials. We first will discuss some potential sources of between-study variability, and overview some methods for identifying whether heterogeneity poses a problem in a particular set of studies. We then will focus on issues related to dealing with study variability once it has been identified. In particular, we will discuss the decision whether or not to combine results; the choice between fixed-effect and random-effects analyses; and the use of subgroup analyses (with a brief mention of meta-regression). Discussion will be supplemented with practical examples from the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.