October 23, 2020

Standard Ways of Reporting for Medical Research

Scholarly literature is expected to be of the highest quality, having gone through extensive editing and peer review processes prior to being published. However, many reports of low quality reporting of medical research lately has prompted a call for revised guidelines for some study design types. Now, there are six standard ways of reporting for medical research that have been widely accepted: PRISMA, CONSORT, STROBE, MOOSE, STARD, and SPIRIT.

The importance of accurate scientific literature can’t be understated. Since billions of people turn to researchers for answers to their life and death questions, the information released by them must be of the highest quality. Not only are the authors of the papers expected to give their best work, but the peer editing process and journal editors are also held to the highest standards as far as catching problems and errors prior to the work’s acceptance for publication.

Yet, continual complaints of low-quality reporting of medical research can’t be ignored, and now some study design types are undergoing a revision of publication guidelines. Through six standard methods of reporting, it’s expected that future medical articles will meet and exceed the highest quality levels.

Characteristics of Well-Designed Studies

Designing studies prior to initiating the clinical trials and other medical research is a crucial component. A well-designed study mitigates problems down the line and prepares for obstacles that could inhibit or bias the outcome.

The entire point of a clinical trial is to eliminate or isolate anything that could influence the treatment outside of the objective in question. For this to occur, a good study includes the following characteristics:

●      Randomization of baselines to prevent susceptibility bias. When a study has randomization as its focus, there is a better likelihood of homogeneous baselines in the group trials.

●      Comparison that occurs concurrently to prevent performance bias. When comparison is done at the same time, all treatment groups keep the same variables, minimizing any external potential changes.

●      Objectivity in all levels of research. When scholars go into the study with the aim of complete objectivity, they can find points where bias is likely and avoid it as best as possible.

These are integral aspects of any well-designed study and medical research, particularly clinical trials, should include them as a minimum standard.

Low Quality and Error-Riddled Reports

Scientific literature in all fields always includes the methodology section. It is in this area that authors must be able to explain in thorough detail each step of their research so that it can be replicated if necessary by others. But this is the exact area that has come into the spotlight lately under what has been termed the “Replicability Crisis.”

Through researcher undercovering and computer software programs, a large chunk of currently published literature has been proven to be unreplicable and low quality. The findings in the original studies were not the same as the new, repeated outcomes. Some of these repeated experiments were comparable, but others were way off base. In the medical field, even the tiniest difference could be life or death, so new guidelines were implemented.

Standards Ways of Reporting

Reporting medical research must go through specific guidelines. Today’s scholars follow one of these six methods to ensure the highest quality articles are met and demonstrate full transparency:

●      PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses) is the preferred method when a scholar’s intent is to report a systematic review or meta-analysis. PRISMA is a checklist of 27 aspects of research that use a flow diagram to critically evaluate work.

●      CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) is used when a scholar needs to report randomized controlled trials. It’s a checklist of 25 items that focus on ensuring the researcher’s report is wholly complete and transparent.

●      STROBE (STrengthening the Reporting of OBservational studies in Epidemiology) is a guideline that researchers use when they are reporting an observational study. It’s most commonly used in cohort, case-control, and cross-sectional reporting. STROBE contains 22 items used to cover different topics while still keeping a similar structural framework.

●      MOOSE (Meta-analysis Of Observational Studies in Epidemiology), a method of reporting meta-analyses of observational studies, contains an extensive 35-item checklist. These items are put together with the intent of improving how meta-analyses of epidemiological research is used.

●      STARD (STAndards for the Reporting of Diagnostic accuracy studies) focuses on reporting diagnostic or prognostic studies accurately. The 25 items on this checklist, along with a flow diagram, help to ensure the methodology is clearly covered.

●      SPIRIT (Standard Protocol Items: Recommendations for Interventional Trials) is used in terms of reporting of scientific trial protocols to prevent inadequate reporting of crucial aspects of the research.

With these six guidelines being used for medical reporting, the quality of research is expected to improve.

Using Impactio to Show Accuracy

When you want to prove that your research is accurate and has used evidence-based methodology, follow the frameworks and guidelines that match your research. Then, focus on the importance of compiling the data into a reputable software program, like Impactio, as your next step.

Impactio is an all-in-one platform used by scholars around the world. When they want to demonstrate their impressive expertise, Impactio gives them all the tools needed to do so easily and effectively. When it’s time to show the world your reputable findings, Impactio can help you.

Tags Research Medical Research Scholars
Jason Collins
Jason is a writer for many niche brands with experience “bringing stories to life” for both startups and corporate partners.

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