Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research

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Authors of research reports

The following resources will help you to produce high quality research publications:Author

Planning and conducting your research

It is important to be aware of reporting requirements and to think about reporting when you are planning and conducting your research study:

  • UK NIHR Clinical Trials Toolkit provides practical advice to researchers in designing and conducting publicly funded clinical trials in the UK. Through the use of an interactive routemap, this site provides information on best practice and outlines the current legal and practical requirements for conducting clinical trials.
  • UK MRC Experimental Medicine Tool Kit provides guidance on legal and good practice requirements when designing, conducting and disseminating experimental medicine studies.
  • UK MRC Data and Tissues Tool Kit provides practical help with legislative and good practice requirements relating to the use of personal information and human tissue samples in healthcare research in the UK, e.g. Data Protection Act (1998), Human Tissue Acts. Much of the information, which is held in route maps, focuses on the planning and approvals stage of setting up a research project.
  • The Global Health Trials (part of the Global Health Network) resources for planning, budgeting, and designing research studies; includes protocol and other templates, links to tools, etc. Resources are predominantly focused on researchers in low and middle income countries.
  • The SPIRIT 2013 Statement provides guidance on the minimum content that should be included in a clinical trial protocol and consists of a 33-item checklist.Spirit
    Chan A-W, Tetzlaff JM, Altman DG, Laupacis A, Gøtzsche PC, Krleža-Jerić K, Hróbjartsson A, Mann H, Dickersin K, Berlin J, Doré C, Parulekar W, Summerskill W, Groves T, Schulz K, Sox H, Rockhold FW, Rennie D, Moher D. SPIRIT 2013 Statement: Defining standard protocol items for clinical trials. Ann Intern Med 2013;158(3):200-7.

Systematic reviews represent an important part of published research. As with primary research, good systematic reviews need to be well planned, well conducted and well reported. The following resources provide guidance for the development of robust systematic reviews:

  • Systematic Reviews. CRD’s guidance for undertaking reviews in health care. Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York, 2009

Writing up your research

A good scientific article combines clear writing style with a high standard of reporting of the research content:

  • Guidance on scientific writing
  • Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals (ICMJE Recommendations)
  • Reporting guidelines (search a comprehensive list of available guidelines appropriate to each study type)
  • Examples of good research reporting (specific examples showing why and how to correctly describe important aspects of your trial or other types of research studies)
  • Online writing aids
    The COBWEB tool is an online writing tool for authors to use when writing up the results of a randomised controlled trial. The tool consists of a series of text boxes that address CONSORT items, and upon completion the tool provides a formatted word document. The COBWEB tool can be accessed at: http://cochrane.fr/cobweb/
    (Please note that when promoted to ‘choose an ID’ you need to create your own ID to log in)

Tip: When you finish your writing …
When published, your article will start a new independent life – it will be read and critically appraised, and it may contribute to systematic reviews, inform clinical guidelines, and influence clinical practice, etc. So, before you submit your paper to a journal, try to consider whether the article is ‘fit for purpose’ and able to pass this future scrutiny, e.g. will a Cochrane reviewer be able to identify your study’s methods to assess risk of bias (Cochrane handbook, Table 8.5.a); can numerical results be extracted from your paper without any ambiguity; have you provided enough detail about your intervention to allow its use in clinical practice; etc.


Data sharing, reporting data

Data sharing is commonplace in some scientific disciplines and is a policy requirement of a number of major research funding agencies. This culture has not yet been widely adopted by the clinical research community but the trend is definitively moving in this direction.

Data sharing is a requirement of a number of major research funding agencies’ policies. OECDThe policies are mostly based on the OECD principles (The OECD Principles and Guidelines for Access to Research Data from Public Funding, 2007). A good resource of information is also the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health website (see Framework for Responsible Sharing of Genomic and Health-Related Data)

A guideline on preparing raw clinical data for publication is listed in our Library together with some other more specific guidelines on reporting data.

For guidance on reporting and sharing data from biological and biomedical experiments visit MIBBI: Minimum Information for Biological and Biomedical Investigations portal and BioSharing.


Additional guidance for industry sponsored research – medical writers

Medical writers should be aware of any guidelines that apply to the publications they are producing, including the reporting guidelines on the EQUATOR website. In addition to these, a number of guidelines relating to reporting have been developed specifically for medical writers.


Ethical guidelines and considerations

Complete, accurate and transparent reporting is an integral part of responsible research conduct. Many organisations stipulate this in their guidelines:


Publishers’ resources for authors


Reviewing research articles

Researchers are often asked to peer review articles for journals. Reporting guidelines can be valuable tools when checking the completeness of research reports.

Resources on peer review, including free online courses, can be accessed here.


Communicating research to media


Other resources

Training Opportunities

Also explore the EQUATOR Links section