Potential for Meta-Analysis in the Realm of Preharvest Food Safety.

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Microbiology spectrum, ISSN: 2165-0497, Vol: 4, Issue: 5

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Sargeant, Jan M.; O'Connor, Annette M.
American Society for Microbiology
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology; Environmental Science; Immunology and Microbiology; Medicine
review description
Meta-analysis, the statistical combination of results from multiple studies, can be used to summarize all of the available research on an intervention, etiology, descriptive, or diagnostic test accuracy question. Meta-analysis should be conducted as a component of a systematic review, to increase transparency in the selection of studies and to incorporate an evaluation of the risk of bias in the individual studies included in the meta-analysis. The process of meta-analysis may include a forest plot to graphically display the study results and the calculation of a weighted average summary effect size. Heterogeneity (differences in the effect size between studies) can be evaluated using formal statistics and the reasons for heterogeneity can be explored using sub-group analysis or meta-regression. Thus, meta-analysis may be a useful methodology for preharvest food safety research to aid in policy or clinical decision-making or to provide input to quantitative risk assessment or other models.