Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research

How to develop a reporting guideline

Welcome to our toolkit for developing a reporting guideline!

Using the resources you find here will help you decide whether a new reporting guideline is needed and write a useful and useable guideline

You’ve probably found your way here because you’re aware of problems in how a particular kind of health research is reported, and you want to do something to improve this. Thank you for your commitment to enhancing the quality and transparency of health research!

In this toolkit

This toolkit will guide you through every step of developing a reporting guideline and support you in getting your reporting guideline into the hands of the researchers who need it. We will cover:

The guidance in this toolkit is based on the EQUATOR publication “Guidance for developers of health research reporting guidelines“. You can find more resources on developing a reporting guideline on this page.

What are reporting guidelines?

Reporting guidelines are simple, structured tools for health researchers to use while writing manuscripts. They provide minimum lists 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.”

You can see an example of a checklist here (Word) and a flow diagram here (Word). 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.

We hope you find the contents of this toolkit helpful. If you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch with the EQUATOR Network team by email, on Twitter, or on Facebook. We welcome any training materials or literature collections that you have found useful in your development of reporting guidelines!

This page was last updated on 28 June 2018