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Evidence synthesis has come to replace meta-analysis as a term referring to the statistical combination of multiple sources of evidence. In its simplest form, each evidence source is represented by a sufficient statistic, which may be, for example, a numerator and a denominator, a mean with its standard error, or a summary estimate such as an estimate of the log odds ratio and its standard error. The evidence synthesis is then the process of finding a suitable weighted average of these quantities. However, meta-analysis need not be restricted to summary statistics and has, for example, been extended to analyses of data from individual patients in multiple studies. Furthermore, evidence synthesis may be used to imply much more general forms of statistical synthesis, involving data ...

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