Quality, quantity and harmony: the DataSHaPER approach to integrating data across bioclinical studies.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


International journal of epidemiology, Volume 39, Issue 5, p.1383-93 (2010)


2010, Center-Authored Paper, Clinical Trials as Topic, Data Collection, Data Interpretation, Statistical, Epidemiologic Methods, Health Behavior, Humans, Information Storage and Retrieval, Meta-Analysis as Topic, Public Health Sciences Division, Residence Characteristics, Socioeconomic Factors


Vast sample sizes are often essential in the quest to disentangle the complex interplay of the genetic, lifestyle, environmental and social factors that determine the aetiology and progression of chronic diseases. The pooling of information between studies is therefore of central importance to contemporary bioscience. However, there are many technical, ethico-legal and scientific challenges to be overcome if an effective, valid, pooled analysis is to be achieved. Perhaps most critically, any data that are to be analysed in this way must be adequately 'harmonized'. This implies that the collection and recording of information and data must be done in a manner that is sufficiently similar in the different studies to allow valid synthesis to take place.