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Gerstein Science Information Centre

Getting Published in Health Sciences

Why use a reporting guideline?

What is a reporting guideline?

The EQUATOR Network (Enhancing the Quality and Transparency of Health Research) defines 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."

A reporting guideline is a simple, structured tool for health researchers to use while writing manuscripts. A reporting guideline provides a minimum list 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.

Source: EQUATOR Network: https://www.equator-network.org/about-us/what-is-a-reporting-guideline/

Why use a reporting guideline?

Reporting guidelines are an important part of transparent & reproducible research, whereby studies, especially the methodology and results sections, are reported iin a complete way so other readers can understand and reproduce the study.  Reproducibility is a cornerstone of good science. Lack of reproducibility hinders science. 

More info: Glasziou, P., Altman, D. G., Bossuyt, P., Boutron, I., Clarke, M., Julious, S., . . . Wager, E. (2014). Reducing waste from incomplete or unusable reports of biomedical research. The Lancet, 383(9913), 267-276. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(13)62228-X

Where can i find reporting guidelines?

You can search for reporting guidelines for many study types at : EQUATOR Network (Enhancing the Quality and Transparency of Health Research)