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Meta-analysis: How to quantify and explain heterogeneity?
European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing  (IF3.908),  Pub Date : 2020-08-05, DOI: 10.1177/1474515120944014
Todd Ruppar

The number of systematic reviews and meta-analyses submitted to nursing and allied health journals continues to grow. Well-conducted and reported syntheses of research are valuable to advancing science. One of the common critiques identified in these manuscripts involves how the authors addressed heterogeneity among the studies in their meta-analyses. Methodologically inappropriate approaches regarding heterogeneity introduce error and bias into analyses and may lead to incorrect findings and conclusions. This article will discuss some of the approaches to take as well as avoid when addressing heterogeneity in meta-analyses, including suggestions for how to choose a fixed-effect or random-effects meta-analysis model and steps to follow to address heterogeneity in meta-analysis results.