StATS: Meta-analysis talk (May 2, 2005) Category: Systematic overviews

Today I gave a talk on meta-analysis. I started with a general overview of meta-analysis, and then discussed some of the particular problems associated with a meta-analysis of a diagnostic test.

The discussion was quite lively, and wide-ranging. At one point, we were talking about how to respond to a bad referee report for a paper you are trying to get published. I mentioned how it is difficult to argue with a referee although a few times I have had to resort to a "my referee is an idiot" defense. Most of the time, I just try to go along with what the referee says unless their suggestions do violence to the statistics.

One of the other people mentioned that he would often cite a paper by Moye published in 2001 in Circulation when arguing with a referee about changing the analysis. It turns out that I had this paper in my files already. The full citation is

and it discusses the problems with unwarranted changes in a research protocol. I may have to try this the next time I have to respond to a referee report. Actually, it is usually not my paper. Most of the time, someone comes to me with a referee report on a paper I have never seen before and asks for help in responding to the referee's critical comments.

Dr. Moye has also written an excellent book:

which has a lot of lively and entertaining examples in its pages.

We had a lot of interesting comments during my talk, and I agreed to give another talk on meta-analysis at a later date. I would just give a non-technical overview based on my chapter:

in the book I am trying to get published. The link to this chapter will disappear when the book is published, so please do not bookmark it.

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