Telling a story

Because you’ve just conducted your meta-analysis, you’ll already have the number that expresses the average effect of the two headache drugs, but you can also get a good sense of what the studies have to say just by looking at your forest plot.

If all, or most, of the studies are on the side that favors the new drug, that tells you that the newer drug was more effective in most studies.

If they’re all clustered on the other side, that tells you the newer drug was less effective than the medicine most doctors prescribe.

And if the studies are spread randomly around the forest plot, the results are mixed and you might need to do some more investigation.