A Novel Graphical Method for Data Presentation in Alcohol Systematic Reviews: The Interactive Harvest Plot

James Foulds, Josh Knight, Jesse T Young, Claire Keen, Giles Newton-Howes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: To demonstrate a novel method for presenting and exploring data in systematic reviews of the alcohol literature.
Methods: Harvest plots are a graphical method for displaying data on the overall pattern of evidence from a systematic review. They can display the direction of effects and risk of bias within studies for multiple outcomes in a single graphical chart. Using data from our previous meta-analysis on the association between personality disorder and alcohol treatment outcome, we extended the application of harvest plots by developing an interactive online harvest plot application.
Results: Studies included in the review were heterogeneous in design. There were many different primary outcomes, and similar outcomes were often defined differently across studies. The
interactive harvest plot allows readers to explore trends in the data across multiple outcomes, including the impact of within-study bias and year of publication. In contrast, meta-analysis on
the same data was hampered by a lack of consistency in the way outcomes were measured, and incomplete reporting of effect sizes and their variance. This meant many studies included in the
systematic review could not be meta-analysed.
Conclusions: Interactive harvest plots are a novel graphical method to present data from systematic reviews. They can supplement or even replace meta-analysis when the studies included in a systematic review use heterogeneous designs and measures, as is often the case in the alcohol literature.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberagaa145
Pages (from-to)16-25
Number of pages10
JournalAlcohol and Alcoholism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


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