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Systematic Searching Support

What is a Meta-Analysis?

Aim: to integrate several independent studies to determine cumulative impact of evidence. Involves the statistical analysis of two or more separate studies, generally performed to increase power and precision and to determine answers to questions not posed in the original studies. All meta-analyses should include a systematic search, but not all systematic reviews will include a meta-analysis.

Synonyms: none known, network meta-analysis is a subtype 

Notes about Methodology

  • Often includes a systematic search 
  • Goal is to identify quantitative studies with similar aims and outcome measures in order to generate statistical result
  • Adherence to PRISMA checklist is expected
  • For meta-analyses of observational studies, view the MOOSE Checklist (meta-analyses of observational studies in epidemiology)

Methodology Guidance

Reporting Standards

PRISMA is an international group of methodology experts dedicated to improving reporting quality of reviews. Most journals that accept systematic reviews will adhere to the PRISMA standards and will require a PRISMA flow diagram



Shaw, C. A., Steelman, V. M., DeBerg, J., & Schweizer, M. L. (2017). Effectiveness of active and passive warming for the prevention of inadvertent hypothermia in patients receiving neuraxial anesthesia: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Clin Anesth, 38, 93-104. View full text