Model-driven meta-analyses for informing health care: a diabetes meta-analysis as an exemplar

West J Nurs Res. 2015 Apr;37(4):517-35. doi: 10.1177/0193945914548229. Epub 2014 Aug 19.


A relatively novel type of meta-analysis, a model-driven meta-analysis, involves the quantitative synthesis of descriptive, correlational data and is useful for identifying key predictors of health outcomes and informing clinical guidelines. Few such meta-analyses have been conducted and thus, large bodies of research remain unsynthesized and uninterpreted for application in health care. We describe the unique challenges of conducting a model-driven meta-analysis, focusing primarily on issues related to locating a sample of published and unpublished primary studies, extracting and verifying descriptive and correlational data, and conducting analyses. A current meta-analysis of the research on predictors of key health outcomes in diabetes is used to illustrate our main points.

Keywords: meta-analysis; model testing; type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / methods*