Quality of reporting in abstracts of RCTs published in emergency medicine journals: a protocol for a systematic survey of the literature
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INTRODUCTION: The quality of reporting of abstracts of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in major general medical journals and in some category-specific journals was shown to be poor before the publication of the ConsolidatedStandards of ReportingTrials (CONSORT) extension for abstracts in 2008, and an improvement in the quality of reporting of abstracts was observed after its publication. The effect of the publication of the CONSORT extension for abstracts on the quality of reporting of RCTs in emergency medicine journals has not been studied. In this paper, we present the protocol of a systematic survey of the literature, aimed at assessing the quality of reporting in abstracts of RCTs published in emergency medicine journals and at evaluating the effect of the publication of the CONSORT extension for abstracts on the quality of reporting. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: The Medline database will be searched for RCTs published in the years 2005-2007 and 2014-2015 in the top 10 emergency medicine journals, according to their impact factor. Candidate studies will be screened for inclusion in the review. Exclusion criteria will be the following: the abstract is not available, they are published only as abstracts, still recruiting, or duplicate publications. The study outcomes will be the overall quality of reporting (number of items reported) according to the CONSORT extension and the compliance with its individual items. Two independent reviewers will screen each article for inclusion and will extract data on the CONSORT items and on other variables, which can possibly affect the quality of reporting. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This is a library-based study and therefore exempt from research ethics board review. The review results will be disseminated through abstract submission to conferences and publication in a peer-reviewed biomedical journal.
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