What is a reporting guideline?
A reporting guideline is a simple, structured tool for health researchers to use while writing manuscripts. A reporting guideline provides a minimum list of information needed to ensure a manuscript can be, for example:
- Understood by a reader,
- Replicated by a researcher,
- Used by a doctor to make a clinical decision, and
- Included in a systematic review.
Reporting guidelines are more than just some thoughts about what needs to be in an academic paper. We define a reporting guideline as:
“A checklist, flow diagram, or structured text to guide authors in reporting a specific type of research, developed using explicit methodology.”
Whether presented as structured text or a checklist, a reporting guideline:
- presents a clear list of reporting items that should appear in a paper and
- explains how the list was developed.