Funnel Plot« Back to Glossary Index
A graphic technique for assessing the possibility of publication bias in a systematic review. The effect measure is typically plotted on the horizontal axis and a measure of the random error associated with each study on the vertical axis. In the absence of publication bias, because of sampling variability, the graph should have the shape of a funnel. If there is bias against the publication of null results or results showing an adverse effect of the intervention, one quadrant of the funnel will be partially or completely missing.