Simple heterogeneity variance estimation for meta-analysis

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A simple method of estimating the heterogeneity variance in a random-effects model for meta-analysis is proposed. The estimator that is presented is simple and easy to calculate and has improved bias compared with the most common estimator used in random-effects meta-analysis, particularly when the heterogeneity variance is moderate to large. In addition, it always yields a non-negative estimate of the heterogeneity variance, unlike some existing estimators. We find that random-effects inference about the overall effect based on this heterogeneity variance estimator is more reliable than inference using the common estimator, in terms of coverage probability for an interval estimate.

Keywords: Across-study variance; Confidence intervals; Variance estimation; Weighted residual sum of squares

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Wyeth Research, Princeton, USA 2: Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, USA

Publication date: April 1, 2005

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