Conducting a Meta-Analysis in Nursing


Meta-analyses have become common in nursing and medical fields because they make it easier for scholars to combine and analyze results from different studies. The statistical analysis of various results is capable of delivering integrated findings. Since different studies might be unable to offer a conclusive concept or treatment, the tool can be used to combine available effect measures. This argumentative paper describes the advantages and disadvantages of meta-analysis in nursing.

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Thesis Statement: Despite the drawbacks associated with meta-analysis such as the possibility of inaccurate results or conclusions, rigorously completed designs can become powerful tools for promoting the evidence-based nursing practice.

Meta-Analysis in Nursing

Numerous research studies are conducted every year in the field of nursing. Such researches presents evidence-based ideas and findings that can be implemented to transform nursing practice. Unfortunately, the results obtained from such studies are never synthesized to improve the nature of health care delivery (Haidich, 2010). Many professionals in the field have, therefore, singled out meta-analysis as a powerful technique for integrating and synthesizing the results obtained from different research studies (Holly & Slyer, 2013). This quantitative and epidemiological technique can produce meaningful conclusions from the targeted research topic or body. Several benefits can be presented to explain why the research technique is appropriate and relevant in the field of nursing.


Medina and Pailaquilen (2010) argue that meta-analysis is a powerful and reliable source of research evidence for practitioners and clinicians. This is the case because it follows a rigorous scientific reflection and design, thereby giving accurate results that can transform nursing practice. This benefit explains why it is widely used in the field. The second advantage is that the outcomes of such a meta-analysis are accurate in comparison with each of the pooled studies (Doolen, 2017). The method is also embraced by clinicians because it empowers them to examine the existing heterogeneity and variability in the selected results.

When a researcher is analyzing complex literature, the use of the study model can ensure meaningful insights are obtained (Seo & Kim, 2012). Another advantage is that researchers can use the method to analyze the gaps existing in a given area, topic, or subject. This information will then be used to design the most appropriate approach for a new study to address such gaps. The strategy ensures that existing data is used efficiently to explain any form of inconsistency (Kanda et al., 2015). Finally, the method is admirable because it empowers researchers to use explicit methods whenever estimating risks.


Every researcher in nursing should be aware of the major disadvantages associated with meta-analyses. The first drawback associated with this design is that it has a high potential for skewed data or bias (Shin, 2017). More often than not, meta-analyses studies tend to focus on researches with positive results. That being the case, such analyses tend to affect the validity of the findings. Before completing the analysis, it is necessary to select every study keenly to ensure that it offers quality information (Gopalakrishnan & Ganeshkumar, 2013). The inclusion of a poorly-conducted study can compromise the intended meta-analysis design.


This discussion indicates clearly that researchers should be keen to conduct their meta-analyses in nursing rigorously. This practice will produce evidence-based concepts and ideas from a wide range of quantitative studies. Scholars should focus on the above disadvantages and select appropriate studies to come up with accurate conclusions. Consequently, such meta-analyses will become powerful tools for transforming nursing practice.

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Doolen, J. (2017). Meta-analysis, systematic, and integrative reviews: An overview. Clinical Simulation in Nursing, 13(1), 28-30. Web.

Gopalakrishnan, S., & Ganeshkumar, P. (2013). Systematic reviews and meta-analysis: Understanding the best evidence in primary healthcare. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, 2(1), 9-14. Web.

Haidich, A. B. (2010). Meta-analysis in medical research. Hippokratia, 14(1), 29-37.

Holly, C., & Slyer, J. T. (2013). Interpreting and using meta-analysis in clinical practice. Orthopaedic Nursing, 32(2), 106-110. Web.

Kanda, M., Ota, E., Fakuda, H., Miyauchi, S., Gilmour, S., Kono, Y., … Shibuya, K. (2015). Effectiveness of community-based health services by nurse practitioners: Protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Open, 5, 1-4. Web.

Medina, E. U., & Pailaquilen, R. M. (2010). Systematic review and its relationship with evidence-based practice in health. Rev. Latino-Am. Emfermagem, 18(4), 824-831.

Seo, H., & Kim, K. (2012). Quality assessment of systematic reviews or meta-analyses of nursing interventions conducted by Korean reviewers. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 12(129), 1-6.

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Shin, I. (2017). Recent research trends in meta-analysis. Asian Nursing Research, 11, 79-83. Web.

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