# The metafor Package

A Meta-Analysis Package for R

### Sidebar

analyses:lipsey2001

## Lipsey & Wilson (2001)

### The Methods and Data

The book Practical meta-analysis by Lipsey and Wilson (2001) is an excellent introduction to meta-analysis and covers in less than 250 pages the most important aspects of conducting a meta-analysis. Here, I will reproduce the analyses conducted in chapter 7, which is focused on the computational aspects of a meta-analysis, including the fixed-, random-, and the mixed-effects model. The data are provided in the book on page 130 in Table 7.1. We can create the same dataset with:

dat <- data.frame(
id = c(100, 308, 1596, 2479, 9021, 9028, 161, 172, 537, 7049),
yi = c(-0.33, 0.32, 0.39, 0.31, 0.17, 0.64, -0.33, 0.15, -0.02, 0.00),
vi = c(0.084, 0.035, 0.017, 0.034, 0.072, 0.117, 0.102, 0.093, 0.012, 0.067),
random = c(0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1),
intensity = c(7, 3, 7, 5, 7, 7, 4, 4, 5, 6))

The contents of dat are then:

     id    yi    vi random intensity
1   100 -0.33 0.084      0         7
2   308  0.32 0.035      0         3
3  1596  0.39 0.017      0         7
4  2479  0.31 0.034      0         5
5  9021  0.17 0.072      0         7
6  9028  0.64 0.117      0         7
7   161 -0.33 0.102      1         4
8   172  0.15 0.093      1         4
9   537 -0.02 0.012      1         5
10 7049  0.00 0.067      1         6

### Fixed-Effects Model

After loading the metafor package with library(metafor), we can fit a fixed-effects model to these data with:

res <- rma(yi, vi, data=dat, method="FE")
res
Fixed-Effects Model (k = 10)

Test for Heterogeneity:
Q(df = 9) = 14.7640, p-val = 0.0976

Model Results:

estimate       se     zval     pval    ci.lb    ci.ub
0.1549   0.0609   2.5450   0.0109   0.0356   0.2742        *

---
Signif. codes:  0 ‘***’ 0.001 ‘**’ 0.01 ‘*’ 0.05 ‘.’ 0.1 ‘ ’ 1 

These results match what is reported on page 132-133 (see Exhibit 7.3).

### Random-Effects Model

A random-effects model (using the DerSimonian-Laird estimator) can be fitted with:

res <- rma(yi, vi, data=dat, method="DL")
res
Random-Effects Model (k = 10; tau^2 estimator: DL)

tau^2 (estimated amount of total heterogeneity): 0.0260 (SE = 0.0328)
tau (square root of estimated tau^2 value):      0.1611
I^2 (total heterogeneity / total variability):   39.04%
H^2 (total variability / sampling variability):  1.64

Test for Heterogeneity:
Q(df = 9) = 14.7640, p-val = 0.0976

Model Results:

estimate       se     zval     pval    ci.lb    ci.ub
0.1534   0.0858   1.7893   0.0736  -0.0146   0.3215        .

---
Signif. codes:  0 ‘***’ 0.001 ‘**’ 0.01 ‘*’ 0.05 ‘.’ 0.1 ‘ ’ 1

Again, these results match what is shown in Exhibit 7.3 and on pages 134-135.

### Analog to the ANOVA

Next, we can carry out the ANOVA-type analysis described on pages 135-138. In particular, a fixed-effects model with the random variable as moderator can be fitted with:

res <- rma(yi, vi, mods = ~ random, data=dat, method="FE")
res
Fixed-Effects with Moderators Model (k = 10)

Test for Residual Heterogeneity:
QE(df = 8) = 7.6901, p-val = 0.4643

Test of Moderators (coefficient(s) 2):
QM(df = 1) = 7.0739, p-val = 0.0078

Model Results:

estimate      se     zval    pval    ci.lb    ci.ub
intrcpt    0.2984  0.0813   3.6687  0.0002   0.1390   0.4578  ***
random    -0.3261  0.1226  -2.6597  0.0078  -0.5664  -0.0858   **

---
Signif. codes:  0 ‘***’ 0.001 ‘**’ 0.01 ‘*’ 0.05 ‘.’ 0.1 ‘ ’ 1 

Note that the $Q_E$ and $Q_M$ statistics add up to the $Q$ statistic given earlier for the fixed/random-effects models (i.e., $7.6901 + 7.0739 = 14.764$).

The tests for heterogeneity within the two subgroups formed by the moderator can be obtained with:

rma(yi, vi, data=dat, method="FE", subset=random==0)
Fixed-Effects Model (k = 6)

Test for Heterogeneity:
Q(df = 5) = 6.4382, p-val = 0.2659

Model Results:

estimate       se     zval     pval    ci.lb    ci.ub
0.2984   0.0813   3.6687   0.0002   0.1390   0.4578      ***

---
Signif. codes:  0 ‘***’ 0.001 ‘**’ 0.01 ‘*’ 0.05 ‘.’ 0.1 ‘ ’ 1 

and

rma(yi, vi, data=dat, method="FE", subset=random==1)
Fixed-Effects Model (k = 4)

Test for Heterogeneity:
Q(df = 3) = 1.2519, p-val = 0.7406

Model Results:

estimate       se     zval     pval    ci.lb    ci.ub
-0.0277   0.0917  -0.3017   0.7628  -0.2075   0.1521

---
Signif. codes:  0 ‘***’ 0.001 ‘**’ 0.01 ‘*’ 0.05 ‘.’ 0.1 ‘ ’ 1 

Here, we note that the two separate $Q$ statistics add up to the $Q_E$ statistic given earlier (i.e., $6.4382 + 1.2519 = 7.6901$).

Finally, the predicted/estimated effect for random = 0 and random = 1 can be obtained with:

predict(res, newmods=c(0,1))
     pred     se   ci.lb  ci.ub
1  0.2984 0.0813  0.1390 0.4578
2 -0.0277 0.0917 -0.2075 0.1521

All of the values shown in Exhibit 7.4 have now been computed.

### Weighted Regression Analysis

The "weighted regression analysis" described on pages 138-140 is again nothing else than a fixed-effects model with moderators. Here, the authors are including both the random and the intensity moderators in the model. This can be done with:

res <- rma(yi, vi, mods = ~ random + intensity, data=dat, method="FE")
res
Fixed-Effects with Moderators Model (k = 10)

Test for Residual Heterogeneity:
QE(df = 7) = 7.6832, p-val = 0.3614

Test of Moderators (coefficient(s) 2,3):
QM(df = 2) = 7.0807, p-val = 0.0290

Model Results:

estimate      se     zval    pval    ci.lb    ci.ub
intrcpt      0.3223  0.2998   1.0752  0.2823  -0.2652   0.9099
random      -0.3298  0.1304  -2.5286  0.0115  -0.5854  -0.0742  *
intensity   -0.0041  0.0493  -0.0829  0.9339  -0.1007   0.0925

---
Signif. codes:  0 ‘***’ 0.001 ‘**’ 0.01 ‘*’ 0.05 ‘.’ 0.1 ‘ ’ 1

Exhibit 7.6 (page 141) shows the same results.

### Mixed-Effects Model

Finally, the mixed-effects model is described on pages 140-142. These results can be obtained with:

res <- rma(yi, vi, mods = ~ random + intensity, data=dat, method="DL")
res
Mixed-Effects Model (k = 10; tau^2 estimator: DL)

tau^2 (estimated amount of residual heterogeneity):     0.0049 (SE = 0.0294)
tau (square root of estimated tau^2 value):             0.0698
I^2 (residual heterogeneity / unaccounted variability): 8.89%
H^2 (unaccounted variability / sampling variability):   1.10
R^2 (amount of heterogeneity accounted for):            81.20%

Test for Residual Heterogeneity:
QE(df = 7) = 7.6832, p-val = 0.3614

Test of Moderators (coefficient(s) 2,3):
QM(df = 2) = 5.5711, p-val = 0.0617

Model Results:

estimate      se     zval    pval    ci.lb    ci.ub
intrcpt      0.3311  0.3198   1.0351  0.3006  -0.2958   0.9579
random      -0.3269  0.1439  -2.2712  0.0231  -0.6090  -0.0448  *
intensity   -0.0068  0.0528  -0.1292  0.8972  -0.1103   0.0967

---
Signif. codes:  0 ‘***’ 0.001 ‘**’ 0.01 ‘*’ 0.05 ‘.’ 0.1 ‘ ’ 1

These are the same results as shown in Exhibit 7.7 (page 141).

### Heterogeneity Accounted For

The amount of heterogeneity accounted for by the moderator(s) included in the model is typically computed by comparing the amount of heterogeneity from the random-effects model with the amount of residual heterogeneity from the mixed-effects model (for more details, see the FAQs). The value is given in the output above. We can also carry out this computation explicitly with:

res.ME <- rma(yi, vi, mods = ~ random + intensity, data=dat, method="DL")
res.RE <- rma(yi, vi, data=dat, method="DL")
anova(res.RE, res.ME)
        df    AIC    BIC  logLik    LRT   pval      QE  tau^2   R^2
Full     4 4.9040 6.1143  1.5480                7.6832 0.0049
Reduced  2 6.1347 6.7399 -1.0674 5.2308 0.0731 14.7640 0.0260 81.2%

The value under R^2 is the amount of variance (heterogeneity) accounted for. In this particular example, we estimate that 81.2% of the total amount of heterogeneity is accounted for by the two moderators. Note that Lipsey and Wilson calculate $R^2$ in a different way than is usually done in meta-analyses, so the value for $R^2$ shown in Exhibit 7.7 (page 141) is different from the value computed above.

Lipsey, M. W., & Wilson, D. B. (2001). Practical meta-analysis. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

### Page Tools 