Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research

Reporting guidelines: Can their use make the work of systematic reviewers and guideline developers better?



In recent years, application of rigorous methodology in the development of systematic reviews and clinical guidelines has triggered more intensive scrutiny of published health research. The need to critically assess methodological quality of studies, examine possible biases and compare findings, beneficial or harmful, across different studies has highlighted serious shortcoming in primary research reporting. These deficiencies hamper the development of systematic reviews, which subsequently impacts on the development of clinical guidelines and ultimately on patients’ care. Unfortunately, systematic reviews themselves are not immune to reporting shortcomings or indeed shortcomings in their conduct.photo3big

Reporting guidelines are tools developed to aid accurate and complete reporting of key aspects of research studies. In 2008, the EQUATOR (Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency of health Research) Network was launched. This programme supports wider practical implementation of reporting guidelines by all relevant parties to increase the usability and value of health research.

Workshop outline

The workshop will summarise major reporting deficiencies identified in health research publications and give an overview of key reporting guidelines. We will introduce the EQUATOR Network online resources and discuss their practical use. A short talk highlighting some methodological challenges and shortcomings in the conduct and reporting of systematic reviews will close the workshop.

At the end of this workshop participants should be able to:

  • Understand the importance of transparency and accuracy in health research reporting and be familiar with common deficiencies identified in the research literature
  • Understand the key concepts of reporting guidelines and their efficient use
  • Appreciate the relationship between study conduct and study reporting and differences in their assessment
  • Learn about the main elements of selected reporting guidelines: CONSORT (reporting RCTs), PRISMA (reporting systematic reviews and meta-analyses) and STROBE (reporting epidemiological studies), and have some practical experience in their application
  • Be familiar with the EQUATOR Network online resources available (www.equator-network.org)Best Homecoming Dresses


Prof Doug Altman, Director, Centre for Statistics in Medicine, and Chair of the EQUATOR Network Steering Group, University of Oxford, UK
Dr Iveta Simera, Head of Programme Development, EQUATOR Network, Centre for Statistics in Medicine, Oxford, UK

Programme and slides

Introduction, workshop agenda, learning objectives
Impact of poor reporting on the development of systematic reviews (Doug Altman)
Critical appraisal checklists and reporting guidelines: crucial difference between study conduct and reporting (Doug Altman)
Key reporting guidelines (CONSORT, STROBE) and EQUATOR resources (Iveta Simera)
Practical: Appraisal of reporting completeness of an RCT report using the CONSORT Statement

Systematic reviews: key principles of their development and reporting (Doug Altman)
Reporting guidelines for systematic reviews (Iveta Simera)
Practical work: Appraisal of reporting completeness of  SR report using the PRISMA Statement
Workshop summary; revisit learning objectives

31 October 2013, WHO, Geneva



Latest guest blogger