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Reporting Guidelines

It is important that your manuscript gives a clear and complete account of the research that you have done. Well reported research is more useful and complete reporting allows editors, peer reviewers and readers to understand what you did and how.

Poorly reported research can distort the literature, and leads to research that cannot be replicated or used in future meta-analyses or systematic reviews.

You should make sure that you manuscript is written in a way that the reader knows exactly what you did and could repeat your study if they wanted to with no additional information. It is particularly important that you give enough information in the methods section of your manuscript.

To help with reporting your research, there are reporting guidelines available for many different study designs. These contain a checklist of minimum points that you should cover in your manuscript. You should use these guidelines when you are preparing and writing your manuscript, and you may be required to provide a completed version of the checklist when you submit your manuscript. 

The EQUATOR (Enhancing the Quality and Transparency Of health Research) Network is an international initiative that aims to improve the quality of research publications. It provides a comprehensive list of reporting guidelines and other material to help improve reporting. 

A list full of all of the reporting guidelines endorsed by the EQUATOR Network can be found here. Some of the reporting guidelines for common study designs are:

  • Randomized controlled trials – CONSORT
  • Systematic reviews – PRISMA
  • Observational studies – STROBE
  • Case reports – CARE
  • Qualitative research – COREQ
  • Pre-clinical animal studies – ARRIVE

Peer reviewers may be asked to use these checklists when assessing your manuscript. If you follow these guidelines, editors and peer reviewers will be able to assess your manuscript better as they will more easily understand what you did. It may also mean that they ask you for fewer revisions.