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ERIC Number: EJ1109057
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Mar
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1759-2879
Finding Your Way out of the Forest without a Trail of Bread Crumbs: Development and Evaluation of Two Novel Displays of Forest Plots
Schild, Anne H. E.; Voracek, Martin
Research Synthesis Methods, v6 n1 p74-86 Mar 2015
Research has shown that forest plots are a gold standard in the visualization of meta-analytic results. However, research on the general interpretation of forest plots and the role of researchers' meta-analysis experience and field of study is still unavailable. Additionally, the traditional display of effect sizes, confidence intervals, and weights have repeatedly been criticized. The current work presents an online statistical cognition experiment in which a total of 279 researchers with experience in meta-analysis from 36 countries evaluated conventional forest plots and two novel versions of forest plots, namely, thick forest plots and rainforest plots. The results indicate certain biases in the interpretation of forest plots, especially with regard to heterogeneity, the distribution of weights, and the theoretical concept of confidence intervals. Although the two novel displays (thick forest plots and rainforest plots) are associated with slightly longer viewing times, they are at least as well-suited and esthetically and perceptively pleasing as the conventional displays while facilitating the correct and exhaustive interpretation of the meta-analytic information. Furthermore, it is advisable to combine conventional forest plots with distribution information of the individual effects, make confidence lines more visually striking, and to display a background grid in the graph.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A