In all the hubbub about concepts and calculations, it’s easy to forget that all statistical formulas are built on assumptions.
As you’ve seen throughout this course, there’s no one magic equation to conjure up the answer to your question. Your meta-analysis is based on a lot of choices, and that means you have to be careful and use your common sense every step of the way.
So, take a second and look at your results. Ask yourself:
– Does this answer make sense?
– Am I combining studies that shouldn’t be combined?
– What am I missing?
– What’s another explanation for these differences?
Use your intuition before you rush to accept an answer. Then, do some more analyses to double check.
First, you might consider looking at whether the treatment has different effects among different types of people. You do this by doing what’s called a “subgroup” or “meta-regression analysis.”