Forest Plot

A forest plot is a type of graphical display most frequently used in systematic reviews and meta-analyses. The purpose of a forest plot is to summarize and facilitate visual interpretation of findings from individual studies. This entry presents brief descriptions of meta-analysis and forest plot and discusses the interpretation of forest plots, both numerical results and visual demonstration.

Meta-analysis is a statistical procedure that aggregates data from multiple studies to estimate the overall effect size and quantify excess variability around the effect size (variability beyond what would be expected from sampling error). By combining results from across studies and numbers of study participants, it maximizes power and precision. The effect sizes from each study may be summarized using a forest plot. Risk ratios and odds ratios ...

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