Rationale for Embarking on an IPD Meta-Analysis Project

Jayne F. Tierney, Richard D. Riley, Catrin Tudur Smith, Mike Clarke, Lesley A. Stewart

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter overviews those elements of an individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis project that differ from a conventional meta-analysis of aggregate data. It describes the advantages and challenges of the IPD approach. IPD meta-analysis projects follow many of the same principles and research processes as conventional systematic reviews and meta-analyses of aggregate data. As most IPD projects rely on collaboration with the teams responsible for the included trials, negotiating and maintaining relationships with investigators from different countries, settings and disciplines can take considerable time, effort, diplomacy and careful management. There are many empirical comparisons of results produced by IPD meta-analyses with those based on corresponding analyses of published aggregate data. The chapter provides guidance to help researchers decide when the use of IPD is likely to provide more robust conclusions than using available aggregate data alone. A major motivation for meta-analysis is to increase statistical power over a single trial.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIndividual Participant Data Meta-Analysis
Subtitle of host publicationa Handbook for Healthcare Research
PublisherWiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781119333784
ISBN (Print)9781119333722
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2021

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