Meta-analysis is a statistical technique for combining the results of independent, but similar, studies to obtain an overall estimate of treatment effect. While all meta-analyses are based on systematic review of literature, not all systematic reviews necessarily include meta-analysis.


  • Meta-analysis is a statistical technique for combining the findings from independent studies.
  • Meta-analysis is most often used to assess the clinical effectiveness of healthcare interventions; it does this by combining data from two or more randomized control trials.
  • Meta-analysis of trials provides a precise estimate of treatment effect, giving due weight to the size of the different studies included.
  • The validity of the meta-analysis depends on the quality of the systematic review on which it is based.
  • Good meta-analyses aim for complete coverage of all relevant studies, look for the presence of heterogeneity, and explore the robustness of the main findings using sensitivity analysis.