Abstract Background: When conducting a meta-analysis of a continuous outcome, estimated means and standard deviations from the selected studies are required in order to obtain an overall estimate of the mean effect and its confidence interval. If these quantities are not directly reported in the publications, they must be estimated from other reported summary statistics, such as the median, the minimum, the maximum, and quartiles. Methods: We propose a simulation-based estimation approach using the Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC) technique for estimating mean and standard deviation based on various sets of summary statistics found in published studies. We conduct a simulation study to compare the proposed ABC method with the existing methods of Hozo et al. (2005), Bland (2015), and Wan et al. (2014). Results: In the estimation of the standard deviation, our ABC method performs better than the other methods when data are generated from skewed or heavy-tailed distributions. The corresponding average relative error (ARE) approaches zero as sample size increases. In data generated from the normal distribution, our ABC performs well. However, the Wan et al. method is best for estimating standard deviation under normal distribution. In the estimation of the mean, our ABC method is best regardless of assumed distribution. Conclusion: ABC is a flexible method for estimating the study-specific mean and standard deviation for meta-analysis, especially with underlying skewed or heavy-tailed distributions. The ABC method can be applied using other reported summary statistics such as the posterior mean and 95 % credible interval when Bayesian analysis has been employed.
- Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC)
- Sample mean
- Sample standard deviation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Informatics