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Bias modelling in evidence synthesis

Turner, RM; Spiegelhalter, DJ; Smith, GCS; Thompson, SG; (2008) Bias modelling in evidence synthesis. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society) , 172 (1) pp. 21-47. 10.1111/j.1467-985X.2008.00547.x. Green open access

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Abstract

Policy decisions often require synthesis of evidence from multiple sources, and the source studies typically vary in rigour and in relevance to the target question. We present simple methods of allowing for differences in rigour (or lack of internal bias) and relevance (or lack of external bias) in evidence synthesis. The methods are developed in the context of reanalysing a UK National Institute for Clinical Excellence technology appraisal in antenatal care, which includes eight comparative studies. Many were historically controlled, only one was a randomized trial and doses, populations and outcomes varied between studies and differed from the target UK setting. Using elicited opinion, we construct prior distributions to represent the biases in each study and perform a bias‐adjusted meta‐analysis. Adjustment had the effect of shifting the combined estimate away from the null by approximately 10%, and the variance of the combined estimate was almost tripled. Our generic bias modelling approach allows decisions to be based on all available evidence, with less rigorous or less relevant studies downweighted by using computationally simple methods.

Type: Article
Title: Bias modelling in evidence synthesis
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-985X.2008.00547.x
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-985X.2008.00547.x
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2009 Royal Statistical Society. Re-use of this article is permitted in accordance with the Creative Commons Deed, Attribution 2.5, which does not permit commercial exploitation.
Keywords: Bias; Elicitation; Evidence synthesis; Heterogeneity; Meta-analysis
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Inst of Clinical Trials and Methodology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Inst of Clinical Trials and Methodology > MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10056468
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