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

Adams, April D., MD; Benner, Rebecca S., MPS; Riggs, Thomas W., MD, PhD; Chescheir, Nancy C., MD

doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000002689
Study Design: Original Research: PDF Only

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.

Use of the STROBE checklist was implemented at Obstetrics & Gynecology in 2008, yet there are still areas for improvement in reporting.

Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Medstar Washington Hospital Center, and the Obstetrics & Gynecology Editorial Offices, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Washington, DC; and the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Corresponding author: April D. Adams, MD, 110 Irving Street NW, Suite 5B45, Washington, DC 20010; email: april.d.adams@medstar.net.

Financial Disclosure The authors did not report any potential conflicts of interest.

The authors thank Elizabeth Coviello, DO, Jonathan Scrafford, MD, Sarina Martini, MD, Andrew Haddad, MD, Laura Carlson, MD, Rosemary Shay, BA, and Alexis Panzer, BA, for assistance with the evaluation and revision of the STROBE checklist score sheet.

This project was done as a part of a research fellowship at the Editorial Offices of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Ms. Benner is an employee of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. All opinions expressed in this article are the authors' and do not necessarily reflect the policies and views of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Dr. Chescheir, Dr. Riggs, and Ms. Benner (the Editor-in-Chief, Associate Editor for Statistics, and Managing Editor, respectively, for Obstetrics & Gynecology) were not involved in the review of or decision to publish this article.

Each author has indicated that he or she has met the journal's requirements for authorship.

Received January 13, 2018. Received in revised form March 18, 2018. Accepted March 29, 2018.

© 2018 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.