MetaLight is a software application designed to support the teaching and learning of meta-analysis. It is freely available and, as it uses the Silverlight browser plugin, can be run on just about any PC, thus facilitating its use in teaching environments such as PC labs.
Meta-analysis is a statistical method for combining the results of primary studies. It is often used in systematic reviews and is increasingly a method and topic that appears in student dissertations. There are many courses and resources for meta-analysis available online, such as: the Cochrane open learning materials; two ESRC RDI courses; Michael Borenstein’s course on Statistics.com; and the EPPI Centre’s MSc module on synthesis. This software is a contribution to these resources; aiming to support the teaching of meta-analysis and its use in student learning.
For information regarding how this program can be used to support teaching, please see our paper: Thomas J, Graziosi S, Higgins S, Coe R, Torgerson C, Newman M (2012) Teaching meta-analysis using MetaLight. BMC Research Notes. 5:571, which is freely available online.
You can access the MetaLight application here.
MetaLight was developed by James Thomas, Sergio Graziosi, Steve Higgins, Robert Coe, Carole Torgerson and Mark Newman with financial support from the ESRC RDI initiative and the Institute of Education, London. Designed to support a programme of teaching in Meta-analysis in Education Research and the meta-analysis functionality in the EPPI Centre's software for systematic reviewing, EPPI-Reviewer 4.
The "save to PNG" functions of MetaLight were written starting from the example code published by Braulio Díez Botella. His original code also credits Andy Beaulieu and Tom Giam.