Shahjahan Khan, University of Southern Queensland, Australia, is the founding chief editor of the Journal of Applied Probability and Statistics. He was recently the speaker at a meeting in Malaysia, and reports:

The University of Malaya (UM), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia organised a workshop on “Evidence-Based Decision and Statistical Meta-Analysis with Applications”. The workshop was held on Wednesday, 13 January 2016 at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences of UM.

Professor Ibrahim Mohamed, Deputy Dean, Faculty of Sciences of UM, opened the workshop and introduced the presenter, Professor Shahjahan Khan of University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia.

Around 15 academics and researchers with diverse backgrounds, from University of Malaya and other universities in Kuala Lumpur, participated in the event. The event was coordinated by Dr Rossita M. Yunus and Dr Adriana Ibrahim.

The presentation introduced meta-analysis as part of evidence-based decision-making using statistics from independent randomised controlled trails in medical studies. Applications of meta-analysis from other areas such as education, social science, psychology, agriculture etc were also focused on.

Emphasizing the necessity of systematic review in selecting relevant studies and data collection method from selected studies, the presenter explained how meta-analysis may be viewed as an application of statistical methods on published statistics.

The workshop defined various effect size measures and discussed various methods of effect size estimation for the individual studies as well as for the common effect size of all studies. It also covered the effect size estimation using fixed effect, random effects, and inverse variance heterogeneity models.

Examples from various meta-analyses of diverse disciplines were used to demonstrate the methods to estimate different effect size measures for both binary and continuous outcome variables.

A free statistical package, MetaXL, an add-on to MS Excel, was used to illustrate the creation and display of forest plots, funnel plots and sensitivity analysis of various studies. The package has been created by Suhail Doi of Australian National University, and Jan Barendregt of University of Queensland, and is free to download from

The presenter, Professor Shahjahan Khan (second from right) with some participants

Report meta-analysis workshop in Malaysia