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Nurs Res. 2005 Mar-Apr;54(2):128-32.

The Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT): Guidelines for reporting randomized trials.

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School of Nursing, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, USA.



The rules for reporting the results of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in published manuscripts have been elusive, and many nurse scientists have learned to write research reports by trial and error.


New comprehensive guidelines for reporting RCTs are now available to authors, editors, and readers, a development that is likely to improve the quality of published reports. The Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) guidelines consist of two parts, a 22-item checklist and a flowchart template, that track the flow of all participants through the RCT. Currently, some journals, including Nursing Research, have adopted CONSORT and suggest or require its use in submitted manuscripts, but other journals do not.


The CONSORT has potential to be useful beyond writing manuscripts. Because CONSORT is a comprehensive guide to essential elements of an RCT report, it also provides a useful guide for designing RCTs and writing funding proposals that include all the essential elements of a trial. It also could be a useful synopsis of important concepts when teaching research design to doctoral students.


Reports of RCTs that use CONSORT are easier to read, interpret, and evaluate for relevancy to clinical practice. In addition, excellent reports of research increase the visibility of nursing research beyond our discipline. The CONSORT adds value to nursing research because researchers and readers alike will benefit if it is used more often.

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