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Open Access Research article

Quality of reporting according to the CONSORT, STROBE and Timmer instrument at the American Burn Association (ABA) annual meetings 2000 and 2008

Karsten Knobloch1*, Uzung Yoon2, Hans O Rennekampff1 and Peter M Vogt1

Author Affiliations

1 Plastic, Hand and Reconstructive Surgery, Burn Center, Hannover Medical School, Carl-Neuberg-Str. 1, Hannover, 30625, Germany

2 Department of Surgery, New York Hospital Queens, 56-45 Main Street, Flushing, N.Y. 11355, USA

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BMC Medical Research Methodology 2011, 11:161  doi:10.1186/1471-2288-11-161

Published: 29 November 2011

Abstract

Background

The quality of oral and poster conference presentations differ. We hypothesized that the quality of reporting is better in oral abstracts than in poster abstracts at the American Burn Association (ABA) conference meeting.

Methods

All 511 abstracts (2000: N = 259, 2008: N = 252) from the ABA annual meetings in year 2000 and 2008 were screened. RCT's and obervational studies were analyzed by two independent examiners regarding study design and quality of reporting for randomized-controlled trials (RCT) by CONSORT criteria, observational studies by the STROBE criteria and additionally the Timmer instrument.

Results

Overall, 13 RCT's in 2000 and 9 in 2008, 77 observational studies in 2000 and 98 in 2008 were identified. Of the presented abstracts, 5% (oral; 7%(n = 9) vs. poster; 3%(n = 4)) in 2000 and 4% ((oral; 5%(n = 7) vs. poster; 2%(n = 2)) in 2008 were randomized controlled trials. The amount of observational studies as well as experimental studies accepted for presentation was not significantly different between oral and poster in both years. Reporting quality of RCT was for oral vs. poster abstracts in 2000 (CONSORT; 7.2 ± 0.8 vs. 7 ± 0, p = 0.615, CI -0.72 to 1.16, Timmer; 7.8 ± 0.7 vs. 7.5 ± 0.6,) and 2008 (CONSORT; 7.2 ± 1.4 vs. 6.5 ± 1, Timmer; 9.7 ± 1.1 vs. 9.5 ± 0.7). While in 2000, oral and poster abstracts of observational studies were not significantly different for reporting quality according to STROBE (STROBE; 8.3 ± 1.7 vs. 8.9 ± 1.6, p = 0.977, CI -37.3 to 36.3, Timmer; 8.6 ± 1.5 vs. 8.5 ± 1.4, p = 0.712, CI -0.44 to 0.64), in 2008 oral observational abstracts were significantly better than posters (STROBE score; 9.4 ± 1.9 vs. 8.5 ± 2, p = 0.005, CI 0.28 to 1.54, Timmer; 9.4 ± 1.4 vs. 8.6 ± 1.7, p = 0.013, CI 0.32 to 1.28).

Conclusions

Poster abstract reporting quality at the American Burn Association annual meetings in 2000 and 2008 is not necessarily inferior to oral abstracts as far as study design and reporting quality of clinical trials are concerned. The primary hypothesis has to be rejected. However, endorsement for the comprehensive use of the CONSORT and STROBE criteria might further increase the quality of reporting ABA conference abstracts in the future.

Keywords:
Burns; evidence; consort; strobe; timmer; reporting quality; abstract