A tool to assess the quality of a meta-analysis

Higgins, Julian P. T. and Lane, Peter W. and Anagnostelis, Betsy and Anzures-Cabrera, Judith and Baker, Nigel F. and Cappelleri, Joseph C. and Haughie, Scott and Hollis, Sally and Lewis, Steff C. and Moneuse, Patrick and Whitehead, Anne (2013) A tool to assess the quality of a meta-analysis. Research Synthesis Methods, 4 (4). pp. 351-366. ISSN 1759-2887

Full text not available from this repository.


Background: Because meta-analyses are increasingly prevalent and cited in the medical literature, it is important that tools are available to assess their methodological quality. When performing an empirical study of the quality of published meta-analyses, we found that existing tools did not place a strong emphasis on statistical and interpretational issues. Methods: We developed a quality-assessment tool using existing materials and expert judgment as a starting point, followed by multiple iterations of input from our working group, piloting, and discussion. After having used the tool for our empirical study, agreement for four key items in the tool was measured using weighted kappa coefficients. Results: Our tool contained 43 items divided into four key areas (data sources, analysis of individual studies, meta-analysis methods, and interpretation), and each area ended with a summary question. We also produced guidance for completing the tool. Agreement between raters was fair to moderate. Conclusions: The tool should usefully inform subsequent initiatives to develop quality-assessment tools for meta-analysis. We advocate use of consensus between independent raters when assessing statistical appropriateness and adequacy of interpretation in meta-analyses.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Research Synthesis Methods
Uncontrolled Keywords:
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
04 Dec 2014 09:35
Last Modified:
15 Sep 2023 00:16