Fixed or random effects meta-analysis? Common methodological issues in systematic reviews of effectiveness

Int J Evid Based Healthc. 2015 Sep;13(3):196-207. doi: 10.1097/XEB.0000000000000065.


Systematic review aims to systematically identify, critically appraise, and summarize all relevant studies that match predefined criteria and answer predefined questions. The most common type of systematic review is that assessing the effectiveness of an intervention or therapy. In this article, we discuss some of the common methodological issues that arise when conducting systematic reviews and meta-analyses of effectiveness data, including issues related to study designs, meta-analysis, and the use and interpretation of effect sizes.

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / organization & administration*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / standards
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic*
  • Observational Studies as Topic
  • Odds Ratio
  • Research Design / standards*
  • Review Literature as Topic*