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Meta-Analysis, Complexity and Heterogeneity (MACH) meeting

Saturday 21 September 2013 - 07:00 - 08:15


Singapore (206 A)
Contact person

Contact person

Mark Petticrew
Meeting details

Intended audience

People who have experience of the synthesis stage of systematic reviewing

Closed or open meeting



Systematic reviews are commonly used to summarise large bodies of evidence, particularly clinical trials. They are increasingly used to inform decision-making in fields other than medicine that are relevant to human health and wellbeing, including the fields of public health, social welfare, agriculture, international development, crime, education and many others. The interventions in question are often complex, and the study designs and populations in the review are often varied, and researchers may often be discouraged from conducting a meta-analysis. It has also been argued, however, that meta-analysis is currently simply under-used. The decision as to whether or not to conduct a meta-analysis can be particularly difficult when synthesising evidence on complex interventions. This project (funded by the UK Medical Research Council Methodology Research Programme) aims to explore factors in the decision to conduct a meta-analysis; to compare existing guidance in health and non-health topics to see what can be learned; and ultimately to develop new guidance on the meta-analysis of complex interventions. The meeting will be used to present the project, and to discuss current guidance on when meta-analysis is and is not appropriate; in discussion we will also explore whether there is greater scope for using meta-analysis in the case of complex interventions, and what can be learned from other disciplines.