[R-meta] Random and mixed effects models with the Metafor rma.mv function
Edwin Lebrija Trejos
e|ebr|j@ @end|ng |rom hotm@||@com
Mon Jan 31 21:52:01 CET 2022
Dear Wolfgang,
Thanks for your illustrating replies with links.
Some follow up (I am copy-pasting the relevant bits of conversation):
1) ">- Moreover, agreeing that it's important to control for dependence among
>outcomes, I wonder if additionally controlling for the dependence of outcomes
>within studies is also in place. This, since each published study used in the
>meta-analysis reports experimental outcomes for several species tested in the
>same study. Is the following metaphor model syntax appropriate to correct for
>such within study dependency? rma.mv (yi, vi, random = list (~1|Species, ~1|
>Study.ID/ Outcome.ID), data=dat), where Study.ID is a variable that identifies
>each published study?
Yes. Whether this is fully sufficient to account for within-study dependence depends on whether the sampling errors are independent or not. This has been discussed many times on this mailing list. But adding study as a random effect is generally something I would do."
Can you refer me to some of those discussions or suggest some specific search keywords?
2) ">My question here is: isn't it better to explore the sources of heterogenenity in
>the data taking advantage of the mixed model approach implemented by the rmw.mv
>function and include in the same model both categorical and continuous variables.
>Or, is there an advantage to performing" Subgroup" analysis?
See:
https://www.metafor-project.org/doku.php/tips:comp_two_independent_estimates
Generally, my preference is to use meta-regression models instead of subgrouping."
A model that uses the full data intuitively seems preferred to me, yet I am not sure I can pinpoint the reasons for the preference.
The example on the link you sent shows no difference in results between the analysis of subgroups and a meta-regression, providing that an "~inner | outer" formula and a diagonal variance structure are specified in the random and structure arguments of the rma.mv function, respectively... So, is a meta-regression preferred because it allows to choose (and test) between independent or pooled estimations of the residual heterogeneity? And, is this possibility relevant because of the reasons detailed the the referred paper by Rubio-Aparicio, et al. 2020? (https://doi.org/10.1080/00220973.2018.1561404)
Thanks again for your kind attention.
Edwin
________________________________________
From: Viechtbauer, Wolfgang (SP) <wolfgang.viechtbauer using maastrichtuniversity.nl>
Sent: Sunday, January 30, 2022 5:23 PM
To: Edwin Lebrija Trejos; r-sig-meta-analysis using r-project.org
Subject: RE: Random and mixed effects models with the Metafor rma.mv function
Dear Edwin,
See below for my responses.
Best,
Wolfgang
>-----Original Message-----
>From: R-sig-meta-analysis [mailto:r-sig-meta-analysis-bounces using r-project.org] On
>Behalf Of Edwin Lebrija Trejos
>Sent: Sunday, 30 January, 2022 15:49
>To: r-sig-meta-analysis using r-project.org
>Subject: [R-meta] Random and mixed effects models with the Metafor rma.mv
>function
>
>Dear Community,
>I am looking for expert opinions on meta-analytical models and their
>implementation in The "Metafor" Package by Wolfgang Viechtbauer.
>
>I am checking a meta-analysis of experiments on plant species with significant
>implications for the reviewed topic and I am wondering about the adequacy of
>analyses behind some key conclusions in the study. The data of the meta-analysis
>consists of hundreds of observations of plant species responses taken from tens
>of experimental studies conducted on different species from different terrestrial
>plant communities and using different methodological approaches. A considerably
>heterogeneity in responses exist, as expected and common in ecological studies.
>Below I detailed three points I would appreciate to get feedback on:
>
>1) To evaluate the "generality and magnitude" of experimental effects, the
>authors of the meta-analysis start by fitting a basic 'mean' ("random effects")
>model that does not correct for any dependency on the data using the Metafor
>rma.mv function and the syntax: res <- rma.mv (yi, vi, data=dat), where yi are
>the observed effect sizes, or outcomes, and vi the corresponding sampling
>variances. The results of this model show a significant mean/overall effect size,
>as expected by theory...
>
>Am I correct that this model, fitted with the rma.mv function, is a fixed effects
>model and not a random effects model (as the authors intend to fit)?
Correct.
>My understanding is that when using the rma.mv function (instead of the rma.uni
>function), a random effects model should include a random term of the form:
>random = ~1| Oucome.ID, when Outcome.ID is a unique identifier for each reported
>experimental species response (or row in the dataset). Please clarify to me
>otherwise.
Correct.
>2) The authors emphasize that accounting for non-independence among outcomes is
>necessary. The focus is on the dependency of outcomes from experiments conducted
>on the same plant species, i.e. on a 'taxonomic' dependency of responses.
>Therefore, a "mean, corrected" model is fitted by adding a random 'Species'
>intercept to the model, i.e. res.corr <- rma.mv (yi, vi, random =
>list(~1|Species), data=dat). This model, as opposed to the "mean, uncorrected"
>model (described above), returns a weak and non-significant effect and is
>markedly favored by the Akaike information criterion (AIC) when compared to the
>"mean, corrected" model (thousands of AIC units difference). These results lead
>to a key conclusion that, when controlling for taxonomic non-independence in the
>data, there are no significant, widespread effects, as opposed to theory and
>generally accepted by peers.
>
>I am wondering as well on the formulation of such corrected model:
>- Should the "corrected" model also include a random Outcome.ID term? I.e. rma.mv
>(yi, vi, random = list (~1|Species, ~ 1| Outcome.ID), data= dat)?
In general, yes. See:
https://www.metafor-project.org/doku.php/analyses:konstantopoulos2011#a_common_mistake_in_the_three-level_model
>- Moreover, agreeing that it's important to control for dependence among
>outcomes, I wonder if additionally controlling for the dependence of outcomes
>within studies is also in place. This, since each published study used in the
>meta-analysis reports experimental outcomes for several species tested in the
>same study. Is the following metaphor model syntax appropriate to correct for
>such within study dependency? rma.mv (yi, vi, random = list (~1|Species, ~1|
>Study.ID/ Outcome.ID), data=dat), where Study.ID is a variable that identifies
>each published study?
Yes. Whether this is fully sufficient to account for within-study dependence depends on whether the sampling errors are independent or not. This has been discussed many times on this mailing list. But adding study as a random effect is generally something I would do.
>For clarity, here is a dummy sample of the analysis data table:
>Outcome.ID Study.ID Species yi vi
>1 Study_1 Species A -1.72417 0.06701
>2 Study_1 Species A -1.99694 0.047748
>3 Study_2 Species B 0.15911 0.012989
>4 Study_2 Species C -1.26529 0.115533
>5 Study_3 Species B 0.383786 0.004959
>6 Study_3 Species D -0.07703 0.005961
>...
>
>3) Follow-up analyses are conducted to explore the sources of heterogeneity in
>the data. These analyses are conducted by splitting the data into different
>categories corresponding to types of experimental methods employed, plant life
>stages, growth forms, climatic zones and so on. For each data subset, a "mean,
>corrected" model (i.e., the 'res.corr' model above) is fitted. I believe this
>what is called "Subgroup" analysis in some meta-analysis literature that I have
>found. Other models fitted to further explore heterogeneity involved the
>inclusion of continuous variables using the 'mods' argument of the rma.mv
>function.
>
>My question here is: isn't it better to explore the sources of heterogenenity in
>the data taking advantage of the mixed model approach implemented by the rmw.mv
>function and include in the same model both categorical and continuous variables.
>Or, is there an advantage to performing" Subgroup" analysis?
See:
https://www.metafor-project.org/doku.php/tips:comp_two_independent_estimates
Generally, my preference is to use meta-regression models instead of subgrouping.
>Given my modest (and not too fresh) experience with meta-analysis and the Metafor
>package, and given the significant impact of meta-analyses on knowledge progress,
>I'd be very grateful if any can provide feedback and help me verify, to the
>extent possible, the correctness of my observations. Applying the alternative
>models that I mention above to the dataset used in the meta-analysis returns both
>quantitatively and qualitatively different results, which I find problematic.
>
>Thanks,
>Edwin
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