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Germini et al have reported their findings of the quality of abstracts of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in 10 emergency medicine journals.1 They studied two periods (2005–2007 and 2014–2015), before and after the publication of the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) statement extension for abstracts (CONSORT-EA). They found that the overall quality of abstracts reported in emergency medicine journals was low in both periods, with only slight and non-statistically significant improvement in the total number of correctly reported items after the publication of the CONSORT-EA guidelines.
The CONSORT statement, for those who are not primarily researchers, was developed in 1996 and was the first of what are now hundreds of guidelines for how to report the methods, results and implications of research. The idea behind these guidelines is to promote complete transparency in how studies are conducted, and to alert readers to potential sources of bias (systematic error) in how the study was conceived or conducted. They usually take the form of a checklist and are designed for the type of research being reported. In addition to CONSORT for RCTs, the most commonly used checklists in the emergency medicine literature are those for observational studies (Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE)), diagnostic studies (Standards for Reporting …
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