Methods for the meta-analysis of results from randomized controlled trials are well established. However, there are currently no methods for the meta-analysis of method comparison studies. Here the combination of results from studies comparing two methods of measurement on the same unit of observation is required. We compare standard methods for the pooling of k samples from the same Normal population to those for pooling parameter estimates, in order to estimate the pooled mean difference and 95 per cent limits of agreement. Methods for investigating heterogeneity across studies and for calculating random effects estimates are proposed. We postulate that for published studies either the estimated mean or variance of the difference between measurements will tend to be smaller than for unpublished studies and investigate the evidence for the existence of such publication bias. The methods are illustrated with an example evaluating the accuracy of temperature measured at the axilla compared to the rectum in children.
Copyright 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.