Developing your reporting guideline
Experienced guideline developers suggest holding a face-to-face consensus meeting. Before the meeting, they suggest running pre-meeting activities to generate a list of potential reporting-related items for discussing and prioritising at the meeting. The meeting is also used to plan the writing process and set the publication and dissemination strategy.
Pre-meeting: Identify and invite participants
Stakeholders with a wide range of expertise should be included in the wider development group, including, for example,:
- Content experts (at least 25% of the wider group)
- Journal editors
- Professional medical writers
- Patient and the public representatives
We suggest sending invitations to join the group at least 6 months before the face-to-face meeting.
Pre-meeting: Generate a list of items (e.g., Delphi exercise)
A list of reporting items for discussion at the meeting can be generated from the original literature search and from expert consultation, then refined by wider consultation with stakeholders. Pre-meeting consultation also allows members of the development group who cannot attend the face-to-face meeting to give their input.
Experienced developers often use an email Delphi consensus process to invite stakeholders to rate items identified from the literature and/or to add missing items to the list. Iterative rounds can be used to further refine the list. If the final list remains unmanageable, the executive group can decide to merge similar items or remove items that were rated as less important.
Pre-meeting: Decide meeting details
The executive group should consider the following when planning the face-to-face meeting:
- Size (max 30 people) and duration (1-3 days) of the meeting
- Meeting logistics (venue, meals, transport, etc.) are best coordinated centrally, preferably by a dedicated coordinator
- Meeting agenda
- Pre-meeting materials for participants (background reading, initial item list)
- Audio and or visual recording, with transcription and translation as needed
The face-to-face meeting should generally cover the following activities:
- Present background information and results of pre-meeting activities
- Discuss each possible item, using empirical evidence, opinions collected pre-meeting, consensus opinion at the meeting, and voting if necessary to decide which items to include in the final guideline and/or checklist
- Discuss other guideline requirements, such as developing a flow diagram of participants (see the CONSORT flow diagram (Word))
- Discuss the publication strategy for the guideline and assign responsibility for each step and authorship. In particular, decide responsibility for the Explanation and Elaboration document.
- Discuss the dissemination strategy for the guideline and assign responsibility for each action.
Navigate this toolkit
- Go back to the Toolkit homepage
- Read more about identifying the need for a reporting guideline
- Read more about getting ready to develop a reporting guideline
- You are here: developing your reporting guideline
- Read more about writing up and publishing your reporting guideline
- Read more about disseminating your reporting guideline
- Read more about updating your reporting guideline
- Find more resources on developing a reporting guideline
The guidance in this toolkit is based on the EQUATOR publication “Guidance for developers of health research reporting guidelines“. 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 3 July 2018