Meta-analysis: Its strengths and limitations

Cleve Clin J Med. 2008 Jun;75(6):431-9. doi: 10.3949/ccjm.75.6.431.

Abstract

Nowadays, doctors face an overwhelming amount of information, even in narrow areas of interest. In response, reviews designed to summarize the large volumes of information are frequently published. When a review is done systematically, following certain criteria, and the results are pooled and analyzed quantitatively, it is called a meta-analysis. A well-designed meta-analysis can provide valuable information for researchers, policymakers, and clinicians. However, there are many critical caveats in performing and interpreting them, and thus many ways in which meta-analyses can yield misleading information.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research
  • Humans
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Selection Bias