The research questions and methodological adequacy of clinical studies of the voice and larynx published in Brazilian and international journals

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Abstract

Objective

To evaluate the methodological adequacy of voice and laryngeal study designs published in speech-language pathology and otorhinolaryngology journals indexed for the ISI Web of Knowledge® (ISI® Web) and the MEDLINE® database.

Methods

A cross-sectional study conducted at the Universidade Federal de São Paulo (Federal University of São Paulo). Two Brazilian speech-language pathology and otorhinolaryngology journals (Pró-Fono and Revista Brasileira de Otorrinolaringologia) and two international speech-language pathology and otorhinolaryngology journals (Journal of Voice, Laryngoscope), all dated between 2000 and 2004, were hand-searched by specialists. Subsequently, voice and larynx publications were separated, and a speech-language pathologist and otorhinolaryngologist classified 374 articles from the four journals according to objective and study design.

Results

The predominant objective contained in the articles was that of primary diagnostic evaluation (27%), and the most frequent study design was case series (33.7%). A mere 7.8% of the studies were designed adequately with respect to the stated objectives. There was no statistical difference in the methodological quality of studies indexed for the ISI® Web and the MEDLINE® database.

Conclusion

The studies published in both national journals, indexed for the MEDLINE® database, and international journals, indexed for the ISI® Web, demonstrate weak methodology, with research poorly designed to meet the proposed objectives. There is much scientific work to be done in order to decrease uncertainty in the field analysed.

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