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Meta-analysis: A 12-step program

L. Streiner David


Meta-analysis is a technique for combining the results of many studies in a rigorous and systematic manner, to allow us to better assess prevalence rates for different types of gambling and determine which interventions have the best evidence regarding their effectiveness and efficacy. Meta-analysis consists of (a) a comprehensive search for all available evidence; (b) the use of applying explicit criteria for determining which articles to include; (c) determination of an effect size for each study; and (d) the pooling of effect sizes across studies to end up with a global estimate of the prevalence or the effectiveness of a treatment. This paper begins with a discussion of why meta-analyses are useful, followed by a 12-step program for conducting a meta-analysis. This program can be used both by people planning to do such an analysis, as well as by readers of a meta-analysis, to evaluate how well it was carried out.

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