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"-ebayes- creates two new variables in the dataset: ebest contains 
empirical Bayes estimate for each study, and ebse the corresponding 
standard errors." 

In fact, this is *all* the -ebayes- option does when used on its own - 
it changes nothing in the output displayed in the results window. If 
you want to compute combined estimates (under both random and fixed 
effects models) based on the EB individual estimates, follow your 
initial "meta ..., ebayes" command by "meta ebest ebse".

Note that "meta ..., graph(e)" automatically requests the -ebayes- 
option and gives a graph of the EB individual estimates plus a
combined estimate produced by combining those EB individual estimates
under a random effects model.  However, it doesn't display this 
combined estimate in the results window, so if you want to know its 
numerical value, you still need to do "meta ebest ebse" afterwards.

I'd agree that this is a little confusing and arguably the -ebayes- 
option should do this for you automatically.  However, this two-stage 
procedure does make it clearer how the estimates are being produced, and
the -ebayes- option seems unlikely to be of interest to casual users. 
Picking up on another current thread (Hodrick Prescott-Filter / outdated
modules - posts by Kit Baum and Nick Cox in particular),  this is 
another program from the STB archive.  So as Kit wrote, "... the program
itself can't be altered, only updated by a later published version." But
maybe in this case an extra sentence could usefully be added to the 
help file?? I'm less clear if this is possible. As I understand Kit's 
post, updates to STB/SJ material need to be published in the SJ. This 
hardly seems worthwhile for adding one sentence to a help file. 

Roger Harbord
Department of Social Medicine
University of Bristol, UK
[email protected]

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