Implementation Science at UW

The Importance of Reporting Guidelines

The use of reporting guidelines is critical for the creation of transparent, accurate, reliable, and replicable scientific research publications. The EQUATOR Network (Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research) is an international effort to help encourage the widespread use of reporting guidelines in health research.

The EQUATOR Network maintains a searchable database of reporting guidelines online, in addition to tutorials and tool kits designed to improve scientific writing.

In a clear signal about the importance of appropriate reporting, in 2017 the journal Implementation Science published ✪ Enhancing the reporting of implementation research in order to clearly identify for researchers the specific reporting issues necessary to enhance the scientific reporting quality and transparency of the manuscripts submitted.

For an expert review of why reporting standards are critical, be sure to watch the National Cancer Institute's archived webinar "Reporting Guidelines, Measures and Harmonization".

While not exhaustive, outlined below is a selection of reporting guidelines most often used in implementation science.

Open Access articles will be marked with ✪
Please note some journals will require subscriptions to access a linked article.

Reporting Standards to Know

Rigorous Standards For Publishing On Racial Health Inequities

Racial health inequities are alarming and addressing them requires rigorous publication standards to ensure researchers, editors, reviewers, and readers examine racism as a cause of gaps in health outcomes by race. In response to the continued practice in health equity research of invoking biology-as-cause while dodging systemic racism, Dr. Rhea W. Boyd and colleagues wrote a very clear blog post to set the new bar for publishing on race in medicine and health.

If your research includes race as a variable, make sure you are reporting and framing your work with these standards:

  • Define race during the experimental design, and specify the reason for its use in the study
  • Name racism (its form, mechanisms, and intersectionalities)
  • Never offer genetic interpretations of race (because such suppositions are not grounded in science)
  • Solicit patient input
  • Identify the stakes
  • Cite the experts, particularly scholars of color
Implementation Strategies - Recommendations for Specifying and Reporting

In 2013, Proctor, Powell and McMillen published their recommendations for naming, defining and operationalizing seven dimensions of implementation strategies: actor, the action, action targets, temporality, dose, implementation outcomes addressed, and theoretical justification. These recommendations responded to the poor description, inconsistent labeling, and lack of theoretical underpinning characteristic of most implementation research.

Implementation Strategies - Recommendations for Specifying and Reporting (Implementation Science, 2013)

 

Standards for Reporting Implementation Studies (STaRI)

The STaRI initiative developed this 27 item checklist to improve the scientific reporting of implementation strategies. The checklist prompts both the detailed description of the intervention strategy used as well as a detailed description of the intervention effectiveness. The STaRI checklist is not specific to a particular research methodology, and can be applied to the wide range of study designs used in implementation science.

Standards for Reporting Implementation Studies (STaRI) Statement (BMJ, 2017)

STaRI EQUATOR Network profile

Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) Checklist

In 2005 a stakeholder panel was convened to adapt the 1996 QUality Of Reporting Of Meta-analyses (QUOROM), with adaptation focusing on sub-optimal reporting of meta-analyses, capturing the iterative nature of systematic reviews, and reporting on bias. The resulting instrument was named Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA), to reflect the incorporation of both systematic reviews and meta-analyses.

Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses: The PRISMA Statement (PLOS Medicine, 2009)

PRISMA EQUATOR Network profile

Extensions:

PRISMA Harms: This extension identifies a minimal set of items that should be reported when adverse events are reviewed. See PRISMA harms checklist: improving harms reporting in systematic reviews (BMJ, 2016) for more information.

PRISMA - Equity 2012: This extension seeks to improve transparency and completeness of reporting systematic reviews focused on equity. See ✪ Extending the PRISMA statement to equity-focused systematic reviews (PRISMA-E 2012): Explanation and elaboration (International Journal for Equity in Health, 2015) for more information.

 

Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions

Cochrane reviews are systematic reviews of primary human health research focusing on the effects of interventions. The stringent guidelines adhered to in a Cochrane review are internationally recognized as the gold standard, with their reviews being peer-reviewed and regularly updated.

Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions Version 5.1.0 - Published by Cochrane.org, 2011

Cochrane Systematic Reviews EQUATOR Network profile

💻 Cochrane Interactive Learning Module 1: Introduction to conducting systematic reviews

Extensions:

Methodological Expectations for Cochrane Intervention Reviews (MECIR)

MECIR: Standards for the reporting of Plain language summaries in new Cochrane Intervention Reviews (2013)