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Meta-analysis in ecology, evolution and environmental sciences (METR01)
24th July 2017 - 28th July 2017£260.00 – £650.00
This 5-day course will involve combination of lectures and practical sessions where students will practice conducting meta-analysis using the metafor package in R. In addition, students will conduct their own mini-meta-analyses by working in small groups on an assigned ecological topic with 8-10 primary research papers provided per topic. Students would need to decide on effect size metric to use and inclusion criteria, extract the data from the primary studies, design the extraction spreadsheet, conduct meta-analysis using the metafor package and present their results in the form of a PowerPoint Presentation.
After successfully completing this course students should be able to:
- formulate questions for meta-analysis
- formulate inclusion criteria for primary studies to be included in the analysis
- design spreadsheets for data extraction
- conduct literature search on the topic
- extract data from published studies
- conduct meta-analysis using metafor package in R
- present the results of the meta-analysis
Any researchers (from postgraduate students to senior investigators) interested in synthesizing evidence from primary literature in areas of basic & applied ecology and evolutionary biology. The skills learnt can also be used for development of evidence-based policy and decision making in management and conservation.
We offer two packages
We offer COURSE ONLY and ACCOMMODATION PACKAGES;
• COURSE ONLY – Includes lunch and refreshments.
• ACCOMMODATION PACKAGE – Includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and refreshments. Minibus to and from the meeting point. Accommodation is multiple occupancy (max 3 people) single sex en-suite rooms.
Arrival Sunday 23rd July and departure Friday 28th July PM.
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Cancellation policy: Cancellations are accepted up to 28 days before the course start date subject to a 25% cancellation fee. Cancellations later than this may be considered, contact firstname.lastname@example.org Failure to attend will result in the full cost of the course being charged. In the unfortunate event that PR~statistics must cancel this course due to unforeseen circumstances a full refund for the course will be credited. However PR~statistics cannot be held responsible for any travel fees, accommodation or other expenses incurred to you as a result of the cancellation.
Prof. Elena Kulinskaya
There will be a combination of lectures and practicals. Practicals will be based on the topics covered in the preceding lectures. Data sets for computer practicals will be provided by the instructors, but participants are welcome to bring their own data.
Assumed quantitative knowledge
A basic understanding of statistical concepts and approaches common in ecology and evolutionary biology (mean, variance, correlation, regression, ANOVA etc).
Assumed computer background
Some familiarity with R. Ability to import/export and manipulate data, fit basic statistical models & generate simple exploratory and diagnostic plots.
Equipment and software requirements
A laptop/personal computer with a working version of R or RStudio and metafor package installed. R and RStudio are supported by both PC and MAC and can be downloaded for free by following these links.
It is essential that you come with all necessary software and packages already installed (you will be sent a list of packages prior to the course) as internet access may not always be available.
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Meet at the Tullie Inn, Balloch at approximately 18:30 before being taken by minibus to SCENE (Download directions PDF).
Monday 24th – Classes from 09:00 to 17:00
Types of quantitative research synthesis (vote counting, combining probabilities, meta-analysis)
History of meta-analysis and its applications in ecology
Types of ecological data and their conversion to effect sizes
Question formulation and inclusion criteria
Literature search and data extraction
Work in groups: students decide on inclusion criteria and metrics of effect size for their own meta-analysis based on 8-10 studies and begin data extraction
Tuesday 25th – Classes from 09:00 to 17:00
Combining effect sizes across studies, fixed vs random effects models
Using metafor package in R to calculate effect sizes and overall mean effects using fixed and random effect models.
Work in groups: completing data extraction for own meta-analysis and running meta-analysis.
Wednesday 26th – Classes from 09:00 to 17:00
Exploring the causes of heterogeneity in effect sizes by meta-regression
Meta-regression analyses using metafor.
Dealing with non-independence of observations (including phylogeny bias)
Work in groups: testing for moderators, considering sources of non-independence.
Thursday 27th – Classes from 09:00 to 17:00
Statistical methods for bias detection
Exploring publication and related biases in metafor
Dealing with missing data and variable research quality
Format of meta-analysis report: good and bad examples, critique of meta-analysis
Work in groups: testing for bias in own dataset; finalizing analyses;
preparing Power Point presentation with results of the analyses
Friday 28th – Classes from 09:00 to 16:00
Student presentations on the results of their analyses + Discussion
Individual consultations for students planning to do meta-analysis in their own research projects
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