A Sequential Approach to Random-Effects Meta-Analysis
The objective of meta-analysis is to combine results
from several independent studies in order to create generalization
and provide evidence base for decision making. But recent studies
show that the magnitude of effect size estimates reported in many
areas of research significantly changed over time and this can
impair the results and conclusions of meta-analysis. A number of
sequential methods have been proposed for monitoring the effect
size estimates in meta-analysis. However they are based on statistical
theory applicable only to fixed effect model (FEM) of meta-analysis.
For random-effects model (REM), the analysis incorporates the
heterogeneity variance, τ 2 and its estimation create complications.
In this paper we study the use of a truncated CUSUM-type test with
asymptotically valid critical values for sequential monitoring in REM.
Simulation results show that the test does not control the Type I error
well, and is not recommended. Further work required to derive an
appropriate test in this important area of applications.
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