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La méta-analyse: évaluation qualitative et quantitative de l’information scientifique en médecine

Meta-analysis, a method for statistical testing of scientific information in medicine

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La méta-analyse est une méthode utilisant des techniques statistiques pour combiner les résultats de plusieurs études différentes, afin d’obtenir une estimation de l’effet global d’un processus étudié. Cette technique offre un gain de puissance, et l’on peut ainsi obtenir une information pertinente que ne peut pas fournir une étude seule. Deux approches sont possibles et souvent intriquées: l’approche quantitative et l’approche qualitative. La méta-analyse offre une plus grande aptitude à généraliser les résultats. Elle diminue la part de subjectivité et oblige à plus de rigueur. Elle aide les médecins, comme les responsables de la politique de santé, à répondre à des questions spécifiques.

Abstract

Meta-analysis is a method which uses statistical techniques for combining results from several different studies, in order to get an estimation of the global effect for a procedure on a global outcome. This technique leads to an increase in the power of statistical testing. It also gives an information which cannot be drawn from one individual study. Two approaches are possible, and often combined. The qualitative approach consists of weighing various studies according to their methodological quality. The quantitative approach consists of pooling the results of different studies. The different steps of the meta-analysis are described. Meta-analysis shows many advantages, such as the estimation of the effect size or the increase in generalizability. It also helps physicians and health policy makers in answering to a specific question.

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Correspondence to F. Delahaye.

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Delahaye, F., Landrivon, G. & Ecochard, R. La méta-analyse: évaluation qualitative et quantitative de l’information scientifique en médecine. Androl. 4, 78–88 (1994) doi:10.1007/BF03034624

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Mots clés

  • Méta-analyse
  • Méthodologie
  • Revue
  • Synthèse de l’information

Key-words

  • Meta-analysis
  • Method
  • Overview
  • Synthesis of information