In the context of a random effects model for meta-analysis, a number of methods are available to estimate confidence limits for the overall mean effect. A simple and commonly used method is the DerSimonian and Laird approach. This paper discusses an alternative simple approach for constructing the confidence interval, based on the t-distribution. This approach has improved coverage probability compared to the DerSimonian and Laird method. Moreover, it is easy to calculate, and unlike some methods suggested in the statistical literature, no iterative computation is required.
Copyright 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.