Use of the STROBE Checklist to Evaluate the Reporting Quality of Observational Research in Obstetrics

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate observational research manuscripts submitted to Obstetrics & Gynecology to determine the level of adherence to the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) checklist and highlight specific areas that could be improved.

METHODS:

A scoring system based on the STROBE checklist was developed and validated for consistency by volunteer medical students or doctors. Using this scoring system, we performed a cross-sectional analysis on 198 observational research manuscripts submitted to Obstetrics & Gynecology from 2008 to 2016. Each manuscript was given a score based on the STROBE checklist. Comparisons were made among acceptance status, country of origin, and study type. Descriptive statistics (means, medians, and frequencies) were calculated for each manuscript category. The t test or Wilcoxon rank-sum test was used to compare differences between two groups and analysis of variance or the Kruskal-Wallis test was used to compare differences among three or more groups.

RESULTS:

There was a statistically significant difference between the mean score for accepted (23.2±2.7) compared with rejected (19.7±4.1) manuscripts (P<.001). This difference was not seen when comparing country of origin and study type. Poor reporting was seen among all manuscript categories for objectives, study size, missing data, study participants, and translation of risk. Additionally, rejected manuscripts had poor reporting for eligibility criteria, variables, bias and confounding, statistical methods, unadjusted and adjusted estimates, and category boundaries.

CONCLUSION:

Overall, accepted manuscripts show better adherence to the STROBE checklist, but there are several critical items that are poorly reported in all manuscripts.

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