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J Vet Med Educ. 2012 Summer;39(2):119-27. doi: 10.3138/jvme.1111.113R.

Inter-observer agreement on a checklist to evaluate scientific publications in the field of animal reproduction.

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Freie Universitat Berlin, Berlin, Germany.


This study's objective was to determine respondents' inter-observer agreement on a detailed checklist to evaluate three exemplars (one case report, one randomized controlled study without blinding, and one blinded, randomized controlled study) of the scientific literature in the field of bovine reproduction. Fourteen international scientists in the field of animal reproduction were provided with the three articles, three copies of the checklist, and a supplementary explanation. Overall, 13 responded to more than 90% of the items. Overall repeatability between respondents using Fleiss's κ was 0.35 (fair agreement). Combining the "strongly agree" and "agree" responses and the "strongly disagree" and "disagree" responses increased κ to 0.49 (moderate agreement). Evaluation of information given in the three articles on housing of the animals (35% identical answers) and preconditions or pretreatments (42%) varied widely. Even though the overall repeatability was fair, repeatability concerning the important categories was high (e.g., level of agreement=98%). Our data show that the checklist is a reasonable and practical supporting tool to assess the quality of publications. Therefore, it may be used in teaching and practicing evidence-based veterinary medicine. It can support training in systematic and critical appraisal of information and in clinical decision making.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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