A systematic review may encompass both odds ratios and mean differences in continuous outcomes. A separate meta-analysis of each type of outcome results in loss of information and may be misleading. It is shown that a ln(odds ratio) can be converted to effect size by dividing by 1.81. The validity of effect size, the estimate of interest divided by the residual standard deviation, depends on comparable variation across studies. If researchers routinely report residual standard deviation, any subsequent review can combine both odds ratios and effect sizes in a single meta-analysis when this is justified.
Copyright 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.