Methodology reporting in three acute care journals: Replication and reliability

Charles G. Brown, Gabor D. Kelen, Michael Moser, Melvin L. Moeschberger, Douglas A. Rund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


As the sciences of emergency medicine and acute care medicine develop, it becomes imperative for researchers in these fields to accurately and completely report the methodology of their investigations. It is only through complete reporting that other investigators can critically examine, replicate, or expand on the results of an investigation. The purpose of our study was to compare the completeness of methodology reporting in three acute care journals, Annals of Emergency Medicine, Critical Care Medicine, and Journal of Trauma. Thirty-eight criteria characteristics necessary for the replication of a clinical trial were identified and grouped into ten categories. The categories were experimental design, recruitment and exclusion of subjects, selection of study sample, subject allocation, therapeutic regimen, blindness, outcome criteria, analysis of confounders, withdrawal of subjects, and statistical analysis. All prospective, interventional, controlled trials appearing in these journals from January 1980 to June 1983 were identified. A total of 45 trials were found. Each trial was read independently by two reviewers to determine whether each of the 38 criteria was clearly reported, not clearly reported, or not applicable. Disagreements were resolved by a third reader (adjudicator). The results are reported as the mean proportion of items clearly reported ± standard deviation: Annals of Emergency Medicine (n = 16), 0.39 ± 0.10; Journal of Trauma (n = 18), 0.33 ± 0.14; and Critical Care Medicine (n = 11), 0.32 ± 0.09. A one-way analysis of variance found no statistically significant difference between journals with respect to these proportions (P = .25). The results of our study indicate that prospective, interventional, controlled trials are not being reported in these journals with sufficient information on methods to allow replication of the investigation. One solution to this problem would be for journal editors to develop and publish standards for methodology reporting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)986-991
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of emergency medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1985


  • journals, reporting methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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