International Science Index


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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