Table 2

Methodological quality scoring system

Methodological Consideration

Sources – points

Number of Sources Examined – Points

Independent Confirmation of Sources – Points

Total Minimum Points Possible

Total Maximum Points Possible


Veteran Status

(Maximum Points = 20)

US state bonus lists – 14

US state vital records – 18

US DMDC – 18

US VA-BIRLS – 18

US Graves Registration – 19

US Military Records (DD214) – 19

US NPRC – 20

US Special Lists – 16

Australian Service Records – 19

UK Ministry of Defense Records – 18

1 source – 0

2 sources – 1

3 sources – 2

Independent confirmation – 1

14

23


Conflict-zone Status

(Maximum Points = 20)

US state bonus lists – 17

US DMDC – 19

US Military Records (DD214) – 18

US NPRC – 19

US VA-BIRLS – 18

US special lists – 16

Australian Service Records – 20

UK Ministry of Defense Records – 18

17

20


Vital Status

(Maximum Points = 20)

US state vital records – 20

US VA-BIRLS – 17

US SSA – 18

US VA-BIRLS & SSA – 19

US graves registration -19

US IRSb – 10

US NDI – 20

US Military Records – 19

UK Office of National Statistics – 20

UK Defense Analytic Service Agency – 19

Australian state and territorial registers – 20

Australian electoral records – 18

Australian death registers – 19

Australian immigration data – 14

Australian Army records – 19

Australian driver's license data – 17

Australian NDI – 19

1 source – 0

2 sources – 1

3 sources – 2

4 sources – 3

5 sources – 4

6 sources – 5

Independent confirmation – 2

17

27


Cause of Death Coding

(Maximum Points = 20)

US state vital records – 17

US NDI Plus – 17

Australian NDI – 17

UK Office for National Statistics – 17

Nosologist using death certificate – 18

Nosologist using death certificate plus other sources – 20

17

20


Study Design

(Maximum Points = 10)

Proportionate Mortality – 5

Retrospective Cohort – 10

5

10


Total Points

90

7

3

70

100


aAbbreviations in table: VA-BIRLS = Veterans Administration-Beneficiary Identification and Record Locator Subsystem; NPRC = National Personnel Records Center; DMDC = Defense Manpower Data Center; SSA = Social Security Administration; IRS = Internal Revenue Service; NDI = National Death Index; DD = Department of Defense; UK = United Kingdom, US = United States

bNo study used IRS records alone to determine vital status

Knapik et al. BMC Public Health 2009 9:231   doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-231

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