Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research

Writing up and publishing your reporting guideline

Write the reporting guideline

We suggest publishing the guideline in a short (~2,000 words) paper detailing the need for a new guideline, the development process, and introducing the reporting guidance statement and/or checklist.

Short, unambiguous reporting item statements should be written based on the reporting item consensus decisions taken at the meeting, ordered to logically follow a paper’s structure.

As it would be impractical for the full guideline development group to actively work on the guideline wording and publication, we suggest setting up a writing team on behalf of the group. However, all members of the group should sign off on the final text.

Pilot the reporting guideline

During the writing revision process, consider piloting your reporting guideline with non-expert users. Developers have had success trialling their guidelines with student groups. Leave time in the revision process to make changes to language based on what you find in the pilot.

Write the Explanation and Elaboration document

Alongside the short guideline publication, we suggest writing an Explanation and Elaboration document (~10,000 words) explaining why each reporting item is important and giving examples of good reporting for every item. Again, a writing team should produce this document and all members of the wider development team should approve it.

We suggest publishing the two documents simultaneously, to enhance the usability of the guideline.

Publish the reporting guideline

Your guideline is a tool that will be used and built upon after it is published. It could be considered for translation, adaptation, or extension to apply to more specific conditions, or the wording of the recommendations could be cut or shortened. Journals can recommend its use, and authors can download and use the guideline checklist during the writing and submission process.

How you choose to publish and disseminate your guideline should support all of these possible uses. Consider the following:


Navigate this toolkit

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 28 June 2018