Single group data present unique challenges for synthesises of evidence. Proportional meta-analysis is becoming an increasingly common technique employed for the synthesis of single group data. Proportional meta-analysis shares many similarities with the conduct and reporting of comparative, or pairwise, meta-analysis. While robust and comprehensive methods exist detailing how researchers can conduct a meta-analysis that compares two (or more) groups against a common intervention, there is a scarcity of methodological guidance available to assist synthesisers of evidence in the conduct, interpretation, and importance of proportional meta-analysis in systematic reviews.
This paper presents an overview targeted to synthesisers of evidence and systematic review authors that details the methods, importance, and interpretation of a proportional meta-analysis. We provide worked examples of how proportional meta-analyses have been conducted in research syntheses previously and consider the methods, statistical considerations, and presentation of this technique.
This overview is designed to serve as practical guidance for synthesisers of evidence in the conduct of proportional meta-analyses.