METM19 presentation

Researchers’ attitudes to, and experiences with, the STROBE reporting guideline: an online survey

Melissa Sharp, Split, Croatia

The STrengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) Statement was created to promote the complete reporting of observational studies. The Statement contains a checklist that details 22 items which should be reported and discussed in a manuscript. Many journals require or recommend a completed STROBE checklist during manuscript submission, and there has been much research focused on the promotion of reporting guidelines by journals. However, less attention has been given to factors that influence authors to use such guidelines. We will present results of an online survey which explored these factors by asking authors about their experiences with STROBE and their attitudes towards it.

An online survey was distributed to authors of observational studies recruited via social media, personal-network snowballing and mass mailings. Questions on demographics, awareness, motivators and usage were collected in conjunction with a modified health technology assessment instrument which investigated facilitators of use, expectations of needed effort and expected benefits.

1015 participants completed the survey. Of these, 185 (18.2%) indicated they had never heard of STROBE nor used it previously, 195 (19.2%) had heard of it but never used it and 635 (62.6%) had used it. Authors shared their expectations and apprehensions about what effort they think is needed to complete checklists and how repo
rting guidelines can affect their performance. Furthermore, they discussed the environments in which they work, which are important factors to consider when promoting the use of reporting guidelines to authors.

I will discuss the results from the survey, which include over 200 qualitative responses encompassing more nuanced and detailed comments. On this basis, I will suggest how editors and translators of research articles can convince authors of the importance of these guidelines. Participants will gain insight on how to communicate with authors about reporting guidelines.

About the presenter

Melissa Sharp is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie doctoral research fellow at Université Paris Descartes, Sorbonne Paris Cité and the University of Split as a part of the Methods in Research on Research (MiRoR) project. Her PhD focuses on the STrengthening the Reporting of OBservational studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) reporting guideline. It looks into micro- and macro-level facilitators and barriers that influence the use of STROBE and reporting guidelines like it. She previously earned a master's in Public Health in Epidemiology from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and a BSc in Psychology from Michigan State University.