Meta-Research in Oncology

  • Everardo D. SaadEmail author
  • Rachel P. Riechelmann


Differently from systematic reviews and meta-analyses, “meta-research” attempts to summarize the methodological features of published or ongoing clinical trials, including aspects of their design, analysis, reporting, and interpretation. In this type of investigation, the unit of analysis is a publication. After the formulation of the primary question, the methodology of meta-research resembles that of other research projects, with pre-defined criteria for eligibility, primary and secondary endpoints, determination of which and how data will be extracted from publications, and an analysis plan. This type of study provides an overall picture of the literature on a specific topic, always accompanied by a critical evaluation of the methodology and/or the quality of reporting of the studies included. Because few resources are consumed to produce meta-research, these studies offer a great opportunity for clinical scientists residing in low-income countries. In this chapter, we present the principles of designing and conducing meta-research and use our experience to suggest instructions on how to perform this type of study.


Review Cancer Clinical trials Critical appraisal Methodology 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dendrix ResearchSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.IDDILouvain-la-NeuveBelgium
  3. 3.Department of Clinical Oncology, AC Camargo Cancer CenterSão PauloBrazil

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