I would like to conduct a meta-analysis, and later a meta-regression, of estimated prevalence rates in 40 observational studies. I'd like to know: a) what the true prevalence rate is likely to be b) whether any of five variations between studies and settings influence the estimated prevalence rate.
Typically, texts on meta-analysis assume that the studies under analysis are clinical trials or similar experimental designs. Discussions are almost always couched in terms of effect sizes. However, I am looking to analyse a proportion of the population, not the effect of a treatment. As a newcomer to meta-analysis, there appears to be little methodological guidance on conducting meta-analysis of observational studies of prevalence rates.
Can I conduct the analyses described above? Can anyone recommend a text for study that covers observational studies of prevalence rates?