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Bulletin of the Medical Library Association


Meta-analysis is an epidemiological and statistical tool used to combine the results of independent studies and synthesize their conclusions for the purpose of evaluating therapeutic effectiveness, determining procedural efficacy, or providing a basis for development of treatment protocols. Meta-analysis also may be described as "studying the studies." The process, however defined, requires access to a large quantity of medical literature and presents new opportunities for medical librarians to use their data gathering skills. At Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, a librarian assists with the identification, location, and review of literature in support of meta-analysis projects done by the Technology Assessment Program. Comprehensive literature searches are performed and references with abstracts, indexing terms, and other elements of the unit record are downloaded, converted, and presented as records in a database program. References are then analyzed, decisions are made about their relevance, and article copies are acquired for further analysis.


PMCID: PMC226065