Today I gave a talk on meta-analysis. I started with a general overview of meta-analysis, and then discussed some of the particular problems associated with a meta-analysis of a diagnostic test.
The discussion was quite lively, and wide-ranging. At one point, we were talking about how to respond to a bad referee report for a paper you are trying to get published. I mentioned how it is difficult to argue with a referee although a few times I have had to resort to a "my referee is an idiot" defense. Most of the time, I just try to go along with what the referee says unless their suggestions do violence to the statistics.
One of the other people mentioned that he would often cite a paper by Moye published in 2001 in Circulation when arguing with a referee about changing the analysis. It turns out that I had this paper in my files already. The full citation is
and it discusses the problems with unwarranted changes in a research protocol. I may have to try this the next time I have to respond to a referee report. Actually, it is usually not my paper. Most of the time, someone comes to me with a referee report on a paper I have never seen before and asks for help in responding to the referee's critical comments.
Dr. Moye has also written an excellent book:
- Statistical Reasoning in Medicine. The Intuitive P-Value Primer. Moye LA (2000) New York: Springer-Verlag. ISBN: 0387989331. [BookFinder4U link]
which has a lot of lively and entertaining examples in its pages.
We had a lot of interesting comments during my talk, and I agreed to give another talk on meta-analysis at a later date. I would just give a non-technical overview based on my chapter:
in the book I am trying to get published. The link to this chapter will disappear when the book is published, so please do not bookmark it.
You can find an earlier version of this page on my original website.