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Reporting quality

 

How trials are reported is important in looking at bias and outcomes. Poorly reported trials generally show larger treatment effects than those with better reporting quality. An example in clinical trials can be seen in acupuncture trials.

A number of standards have been set, including CONSORT and QUORUM guidelines for RCTs and systematic reviews. The best way to find out more is the Internet site CONSORT (plus QUOROM, MOOSE and STARD).

The CONSORT statement is an important research tool that takes an evidence-based approach to improve the quality of reports of randomized trials. The statement is available in six languages and has been endorsed by prominent medical journals such as The Lancet, Annals of Internal Medicine, and the Journal of the American Medical Association. Its critical value to researchers, health care providers, peer reviewers, and journal editors, and health policy makers is the guarantee of integrity in the reported results of research.


CONSORT comprises a checklist and flow diagram to help improve the quality of reports of randomized controlled trials. It offers a standard way for researchers to report trials. The checklist includes items, based on evidence, that need to be addressed in the report; the flow diagram provides readers with a clear picture of the progress of all participants in the trial, from the time they are randomized until the end of their involvement. The intent is to make the experimental process more clear, flawed or not, so that users of the data can more appropriately evaluate its validity for their purposes.

It will also help get you into QUOROM (systematic reviews and meta-analyses), MOOSE (meta-analysis of observational studies) and STARD (reporting studies of diagnostic accuracy). All highly important stuff.