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J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2011 Sep;93(9):1154-9. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.93B9.27193.

A systematic survey of the quality of research reporting in general orthopaedic journals.

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University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, Clifford Bridge Road, Coventry, CV2 2DX, UK.

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  • J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2011 Dec;93(12):1680.


The poor reporting and use of statistical methods in orthopaedic papers has been widely discussed by both clinicians and statisticians. A detailed review of research published in general orthopaedic journals was undertaken to assess the quality of experimental design, statistical analysis and reporting. A representative sample of 100 papers was assessed for compliance to CONSORT and STROBE guidelines and the quality of the statistical reporting was assessed using a validated questionnaire. Overall compliance with CONSORT and STROBE guidelines in our study was 59% and 58% respectively, with very few papers fulfilling all criteria. In 37% of papers patient numbers were inadequately reported; 20% of papers introduced new statistical methods in the 'results' section not previously reported in the 'methods' section, and 23% of papers reported no measurement of error with the main outcome measure. Taken together, these issues indicate a general lack of statistical rigour and are consistent with similar reviews undertaken in a number of other scientific and clinical research disciplines. It is imperative that the orthopaedic research community strives to improve the quality of reporting; a failure to do so could seriously limit the development of future research.

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