Editorials

Better standards for better reporting of RCTs

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.322.7298.1317 (Published 02 June 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:1317

A revised CONSORT statement should further improve standards of reporting

  1. Patrick M M Bossuyt, professor of clinical epidemiology (p.m.bossuyt@amc.uva.nl)
  1. Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, PO Box 22700; 1100 DE Amsterdam, Netherlands

    In the first months of their scientific training students are taught the importance of transparent descriptions of methods and results in scientific communication. Scientists exchange not only beliefs and opinions but also, and primarily, observations and the methods used to obtain them—exposing them to critical scrutiny and the possibility of replication.

    These days, not just scientists turn to the medical literature. Clinical practitioners and other decision makers search Medline in the hope of finding evidence in valid studies that apply to their problems. Most decision makers do not even think about or have the means for replicating studies. Yet in this era of evidence based medicine all are aware of the necessity of critical appraisal: to examine the results, not just the opinions; to judge the potential for bias in the design, conduct, analysis, and interpretation of studies; and to evaluate the generalisability (or otherwise) of the findings.

    Randomised clinical trials are rightfully regarded as the best tools for gathering evidence on the effectiveness of health care interventions. Unfortunately, the maturity of randomised trials, now …

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