Use R! An introduction to meta-analysis with R


Workshop session 5: Thursday, 14:00-15:30

Workshop category: 

  • Methods for conducting syntheses (including different evidence, searching and information retrieval, statistics, assessing methodological quality)


Date and Location


Thursday 14 September 2017 - 14:00 to 15:30


Contact persons and facilitators

Contact person:


Guido Schwarzer
Harriet Sommer


Rücker G1
1 Institute for Medical Biometry and Statistics, Faculty of Medicine and Medical Center – University of Freiburg, Germany, Germany
Target audience

Target audience: 

This workshop is intended for anyone with an interest in performing meta-analysis with R ( Participants are expected to be familiar with standard methods of meta-analysis provided in Review Manager.

Level of difficulty: 

Type of workshop

Type of workshop : 



Objectives: Meta-analysis (MA) is a systematic method for combining current knowledge on a scientific topic and thus, it is central to the increasing drive for evidence-based decision making in evaluating therapies and developing health policies. Review Manager (RevMan) is the main software to prepare and maintain Cochrane reviews but its statistical methods for conducting MAs are limited. Accordingly, more advanced techniques beyond the possibilities of RevMan have to be conducted by reviewers using external software. The rapid development of the open-source software R makes it an ideal environment for keeping up with the latest methodological developments in MA. At the end of this workshop, participants should be able to perform basic techniques in R.

Description: This course will provide a brief R introduction (R as a calculator; getting help; importing data from RevMan; R packages for MA); present basic analyses (MA with binary/continuous outcomes; forest plot; fixed-effect and random-effects model).

The first part will be designed interactively, for the second, a short presentation will be followed by hands-on application using publicly available R packages.

This workshop will be based on the book 'Meta-Analysis with R' (Schwarzer et al., 2015). Participants should have their own laptop with a current installation of R (, RStudio (, and already installed R packages meta and metafor.