Comparison between the standard and a new alternative format of the Summary-of-Findings tables in Cochrane review users: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • BACKGROUND: Systematic reviews represent one of the most important tools for knowledge translation but users often struggle with understanding and interpreting their results. GRADE Summary-of-Findings tables have been developed to display results of systematic reviews in a concise and transparent manner. The current format of the Summary-of-Findings tables for presenting risks and quality of evidence improves understanding and assists users with finding key information from the systematic review. However, it has been suggested that additional methods to present risks and display results in the Summary-of-Findings tables are needed. METHODS/DESIGN: We will conduct a non-inferiority parallel-armed randomized controlled trial to determine whether an alternative format to present risks and display Summary-of-Findings tables is not inferior compared to the current standard format. We will measure participant understanding, accessibility of the information, satisfaction, and preference for both formats. We will invite systematic review users to participate (that is clinicians, guideline developers, and researchers). The data collection process will be undertaken using the online 'Survey Monkey' system. For the primary outcome understanding, non-inferiority of the alternative format (Table A) to the current standard format (Table C) of Summary-of-Findings tables will be claimed if the upper limit of a 1-sided 95% confidence interval (for the difference of proportion of participants answering correctly a given question) excluded a difference in favor of the current format of more than 10%. DISCUSSION: This study represents an effort to provide systematic reviewers with additional options to display review results using Summary-of-Findings tables. In this way, review authors will have a variety of methods to present risks and more flexibility to choose the most appropriate table features to display (that is optional columns, risks expressions, complementary methods to display continuous outcomes, and so on). TRIALS REGISTRATION: NCT02022631 (21 December 2013).

publication date

  • 2015

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