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An Assessment of the Change in Compliance of Observational Otology and Audiology Studies With the STROBE Statement Guidelines

A Systematic Review

Swords, Chloe*; Bhargava, Eishaan Kamta; Meghji, Sheneen; Smith, Matthew E.*; Tysome, James R.*

doi: 10.1097/MAO.0000000000002139

Objectives: Observational studies often represent the best available evidence for surgical practice. Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) recommendations were generated in 2007 with the aim of improving the quality of reporting. This study was designed to assess whether publication of STROBE guidelines has improved the quality of reporting in observational otology and audiology studies.

Data Sources: EMBASE and MEDLINE were searched using a comprehensive keyword search developed in conjunction with a scientific librarian.

Study Selection: English language papers from six Otorhinolaryngology journals during two 6-month periods (2005 and 2016) were evaluated.

Data Extraction: Two reviewers independently analyzed papers according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines.

Data Synthesis: Percentage scores for the two periods were compared using Mann–Whitney U test.

Conclusions: Forty and 42 studies were returned for the 2005 and 2016 periods, respectively. The mean percentage of STROBE items that were met improved between 2005 and 2016 (58, 76%, respectively; p < 0.0001). Analysis indicated that improvements were greater in journals that endorsed STROBE guidelines (p = 0.02). This data suggests that STROBE has increased the reporting quality of observational studies; however, there are still significant further improvements to be met.

*Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge

Peterborough City Hospital, Peterborough, UK

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Chloe Swords, M.A., M.B.B.S.(ENT), Department of ENT, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, UK; E-mail:

Funding: No funding was obtained.

The authors disclose no conflicts of interest.

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