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2011 HSR&D National Meeting Abstract

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2011 National Meeting

2012 — An Introduction to Conducting and Interpreting Meta-Analyses

White DL (HSR&D COE at Houston VAMC), Hysong S (HSR&D COE at Houston VAMC)

Workshop Objectives:
Meta-analysis has become a powerful and widely used tool for systematically reviewing and quantitatively summarizing research findings. Policy makers increasingly rely on meta-analytic findings to inform clinical decision-making and health policy guidelines. The purpose of this workshop is to teach participants how to conduct and interpret a meta-analysis. By the end of the workshop, participants will know the steps involved including selecting and coding studies, using appropriate quantitative techniques to pool studies, and presenting findings for optimal impact and usability to policy makers and other health services researchers. The instructors for this workshop are highly experienced in conducting and publishing meta-analyses in the clinical, epidemiological, and social sciences.

Activities:
The workshop will cover the following topics: 1. Identifying relevant studies (data sources, search strategies, developing valid inclusion criteria); 2. Abstracting data from primary studies (effect sizes, study characteristics, moderators); 3. Demonstration of software programs available for conducting meta-analysis (shareware and commercial); 4. Analyzing data by quantitatively pooling studies (measures of effect size, subgroup analysis); 5. Assessing the reliability and validity of your findings (identifying sources of heterogeneity in your studies, publication bias); 6. Interpreting and reporting meta-analytic findings (including graphical techniques); and 7. Controversial issues in meta-analysis (e.g., use of quality scores, use of non-peer reviewed or foreign language articles, requiring a minimum sample size of primary studies). The workshop will be a combination of didactic presentation and interactive exercises. Specific exercises will teach attendees to: 1. Translate their specific research question into a search strategy for performing a meta-analysis; 2. Practice abstracting relevant data from an actual article; and 3. Practice interpreting meta-analytic findings. Further, participants will receive a list of relevant software packages, useful readings, and web links for additional reading and inquiry.

Target Audience:
Researchers interested in learning how to design and conduct a rigorous meta-analysis as well as researchers interested in appropriately interpreting and using meta-analytic findings.

Assumed Audience Familiarity with Topic:
We will assume participants have little or no knowledge of meta-analytic techniques.


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