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Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 1997 Mar;26(1):31-44.

Meta-analysis and endocrinology.

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  • Department of Research and Evaluation, Kaiser Permanente, Southern California Region, Pasadena, California, USA.


It is likely that more studies that use meta-analysis will be published in the endocrinologic literature. Major strengths of meta-analysis are the systematic ascertainment of research on a given topic and the explicit delineation of reasons for accepting or rejecting studies as a basis for drawing conclusions. The tendency of meta-analysis to focus on a single estimate of effect and to ignore heterogeneity are problems both with the conduct of meta-analysis and the way in which it is interpreted. Meta-analysis cannot overcome bias in the original studies. It is difficult to perform a good meta-analysis and easy to perform a bad one. The critical reader should not be overawed by the results of a meta-analysis. Reading a meta-analysis should not substitute for careful reading of the primary studies on which the meta-analysis is based. Meta-analysis should not be used to stifle the conduct of original research.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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