This January, we (Alfredo and Nick) escaped Germany’s cold dark winter to visit Sydney and the I-DEEL. Our plan was to learn more about systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Did we accomplish our goal? No doubt about it.
Let us first introduce ourselves. We are both postdoctoral researchers at Bielefeld University, conducting meta-analyses to understand why individuals differ. Both of our projects are part of a large collaborative research centre named the NC3; and it was thanks to their support that we could go to the I-DEEL and learn from world-leading meta-analysts in ecology and evolution. Our plan was simple, get there, learn, learn, learn and, well, enjoy the amazing Sydney coffee and the weather.
It became clear from the start that the following equation would be key, and we had better understand it well:
yij = b0 + si + uii + eij
With Shinichi there, that was an easy task. We met Shinichi regularly, carefully planning which analyses we needed to understand and do, and how to get there step by step. The final outcome: we learned and understood how to run bivariate multilevel meta-analyses in a Bayesian framework, which we are now using for several ongoing projects.
Parallel to our stats discussions with Shinichi, we had the opportunity to meet many of the members of the I-DEEL team to learn more about the strategies and techniques they use to conduct thorough, reproducible and efficient systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Thanks particularly to:
- Losia Lagisz, for showing us how to efficiently build phylogenetic trees in R for our meta-analyses, and giving us lots of tips on how to conduct systematic reviews,
- Rose O’Dea, for showing us the gold standard for keeping meta-analysis databases well organized, reproducible and easy to work with,
- Yong Zhi Foo, for showing us his strategy for efficient full-text screenings using Google Forms,
- Dan Noble, for sharing some Rmarkdown tricks to make neat and beautiful supplementary materials,
- And everyone else for making it a wonderful collaborative and engaging lab.
We would like to say thank you to all the people from the I-DEEL for their time, help, and support (also for an amazing farewell cake – ping Rose O’Dea). We hope to visit you again soon!
For updates about our projects, follow us in twitter: @ASanchez_Tojar, @NC3Niche