STrengthening the Reporting of OBservational studies in Epidemiology: STROBE
03 Apr 2018
Biomedical research studies are many times observational and the reporting of such research is often inadequate. The incomplete and inadequate reporting of research hampers the evaluation of the strengths, weaknesses and generalizability of the studies reported in the literature. The quality of the publications can be improved by adhering to the recommendations for reporting of such research. Hence, epidemiologists, methodologists, statisticians, researchers, journal editors and others from across the globe, who are involved in the conduct of observational clinical trials, collaborated for an initiative of providing recommendations for STrengthening the Reporting of OBservational studies in Epidemiology also termed as STROBE.
The STROBE statement is a reporting guideline that is considered essential for good reporting of observational studies (cohort, case-control studies, and cross-sectional studies); but it is not a tool for assessing the quality of published observational research. It gives the recommendations for the reporting of an observational study so that the information presented is accurate and complete. Aimed at assisting writers in drafting observational studies, STROBE also facilitates the reviewers and editors for evaluation of these manuscripts for publication, and the readers for critical appraisal of the published articles.
The STROBE statement consists of a checklist with 22 items considered essential for the good reporting of descriptive observational studies and exposure-health outcome studies. The recommendations cover three main study designs: cohort, case-control and cross-sectional studies, and the 22-item STROBE checklist relates to the title, abstract, introduction, methods, results and discussion sections of the articles. Of the 22-items, 18 items are common for all 3 study designs, and the remaining 4 items are specific to the study designs.
Adoption of STROBE recommendations by both the authors and journals may help in eliminating confounding, bias and generalizability issues and result in a more transparent reporting of observational studies, and may help in controlling the over-enthusiastic reporting of clinical studies, and improve the methodology of studies in the long term. Furthermore, the recommendations on the reporting of research should be seen as evolving documents that require continual assessment, refinement, and, if necessary, change(s).
The Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) Statement: guidelines for reporting observational studies. http://www.equator-network.org/reporting-guidelines/strobe/