Guide to Conducting Meta-Analysis

Before knowing the systematic steps to meta-analysis, let us first know what it means by Meta-analysis.

What is a meta-analysis?

In simpler terms, meta-analysis is a quantitative study comparing the results of two or more different primary studies with conflicting results using a statistical procedure. It is used to establish a statistical significance.

Steps to meta-analysis:

There are four steps to conducting a meta-analysis.

  1. Framing a research question

The first step is to frame a clear and interesting question. As it is a quantitative study, the PICO framework is being used to formulate the question (where PICO stands for Population, Intervention, Control, and Outcomes).

  1. Searching the literature

After framing the question, the next step is to search all the databases to find a sample that is similar to our study. The most relevant way is to use a keyword search as it yields almost accurate results. Those results will help us to understand our topic much better.

Inclusion and Exclusion criteria

After finding out a list of studies, the researcher now decides which studies will be included and excluded from the process of meta-analysis.

  1. Choosing a meta-analytical method

There are four meta-analytical methods, three fixed-effect methods, and one random-effects method. Choosing the correct meta-analytical method should depend on the framed research question.

The three fixed-effect methods are

  • Mantel-Haenszel method – This test is also known as the Cochran–Mantel–Haenszel test (CMH) and is used in the analysis of stratified or matched categorical data.
  • Peto Method – This method can only be used to pool odd ratios. It is a sum of ‘O-E’ statistics where ‘O’ stands for the observed number of events and ‘E’ for the expected number of events.
  • Inverse Variance Method – In the inverse variance method, the weight given to each study is the inverse of the variance of the effect estimate.

The random-effects method is an assumption that the observed data can vary across studies.

  1. Finding out the result

The last step is to find out the results using one of the meta-analytical methods and report them.

While reporting the results, the researcher uses tables and figures that include all the information showing effect sizes, number of observations, errors, etc. Along with that, whatever data is present in the tables and figures should also be explained in the results or discussion section. The researcher should always mention the heterogeneity measures so that the readers don’t find it false.

Conclusion

This editorial makes you understand what meta-analysis is, along with the basic step-by-step process to conduct a meta-analysis. The methods here are a general structure that includes framing a research question, searching the literature, choosing the right meta-analytical method, and at last, finding out the result and reporting it.

How to write a Literature Review article for a Journal

 Literature review articles are a critical form of publication. While all research articles require a literature review section, some articles are purely dedicated stand-alone literature reviews only, published as review articles or survey articles by journals. There exists a certain journal dedicated to such articles.

Review articles are extremely popular with professionals, young students, and novice researchers benefiting immensely from such evaluations of the existing literature in their fields of expertise. Review articles also tend to be highly cited, making them appealing for both journals and authors.

Here are some key tips on how to write a good literature review article for journal publication.

Depth of knowledge: depth and breadth of knowledge is necessary to produce a truly insightful and useful literature review for publication in a journal. A review article is not just about reporting recent literature on the subject that you have come across, but really about giving a unique perspective that threads all these together. One has to read the articles, grasp their essence, and then write about it with authority and interpretive wisdom which is intellectually challenging. While most journals prefer to invite experienced experts to write literature reviews, some do accept unsolicited author submitted manuscripts for publication provided they are of high caliber.

Choice of topic: The topic must not too broad and not too narrow and choose one correctly for the type of review you would like to write. Pick a narrow topic if you intend to write a short crisp review, either about a certain procedure/methodology being explored in your field or certain types of experiments being conducted. For a wider and theoretical exploration of new ideas or burning issues in your field, choose a topic that is wide enough so that you will be able to find enough articles to discuss.

Define the scope of the article: It is very important to limit the scope of the article in order to ensure that you do not lose focus. The point of a good literature review is sharing your perspective while amalgamating various perspectives or viewpoints. It is critical not to be deviate in your discussion by shifting focus to what the others were trying to say. Remember, people will read your article for what you want to say.

Thorough background research: a literature review requires thorough background research. You have to extensively read on the subject, even if you are not covering or referencing every article that you read. While the seminal works deserve a focus, remember there are many others who might have contributed to the field as well. It is critical to develop a wider perspective and then focus and cite some key articles only in your manuscript.

Constructive criticism: A review, while being critical, should not be about nitpicking. You may differ with some authors, or highlight some lacuna that needs to be explored in the field. However, your manuscript must reflect areas of development and encouragement for your readers, and offer new grounds for academic activism on the topic. Only then will a journal consider it for publication.

Peking University purchases linguistics and literature eBook package from De Gruyter Mouton

Peking University ventures to strengthen its growing linguistics program and expand its collection by acquiring the prestigious De Gruyter Mouton collection. The package includes 2,400 ebook titles (up to and including 2017). Professor Qian Jun, the Vice Director of Peking University’s School of Foreign Languages said “Access to De Gruyter Mouton content not only improves the quality of our resources, but allows our students and researchers to take part in the international academic discussion on linguistics.”