Objectives: Appropriate use of reporting guidelines of health research ensures that articles present readers with a consistent representation of study relevance, methodology, and results. This study evaluated the use of major reporting guidelines. Study Design and Setting: A cross-sectional analysis of health research articles citing four major reporting guidelines indexed in the Web of Science Core Collection (up to June 24, 2018). Two independent reviews were performed in a random sample of 200 articles, including clinical trials (N = 50), economic evaluations (N = 50), systematic reviews (N = 50), and animal research studies (N = 50). The use of reporting guidelines to guide the reporting of research studies was considered appropriate. Inappropriate uses included the use of the reporting guidelines as a tool to assess the methodological quality of studies or as a guideline on how to design and conduct the studies. Results: Across all selected reporting guidelines, appropriate use of reporting guidelines was observed in only 39% (95% CI: 32-46%; 78/200) of articles. By contrast, inappropriate use was observed in 41% (95% CI: 34-48%; 82/200), and unclear/other use was observed in 20% (95% CI: 15-26%; 40/200). Conclusions: Reporting guidelines of health research studies are frequently used inappropriately. Authors may require further education around appropriate use of the reporting guidelines in research reporting.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Animal studies, Clinical trials, Economic evaluations, Reporting guideline, Research reporting, Systematic reviews
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclinepi.2020.03.006, hdl.handle.net/1765/126100
Journal Journal of Clinical Epidemiology
Citation
Caulley, L. (Lisa), Catalá-López, F. (Ferrán), Whelan, J. (Jonathan), Khoury, M. (Michel), Ferraro, J. (Jennifer), Cheng, W. (Wei), … Moher, D. (David). (2020). Reporting guidelines of health research studies are frequently used inappropriately. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 122, 87–94. doi:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2020.03.006