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Strengthening the reporting of observational studies in epidemiology (STROBE) statement: guidelines for reporting observational studies

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 18 October 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:806
  1. Erik von Elm, senior research fellow1,
  2. Douglas G Altman, professor2,
  3. Matthias Egger, professor1,
  4. Stuart J Pocock, professor3,
  5. Peter C Gøtzsche, director4,
  6. Jan P Vandenbroucke, professor5
  7. STROBE Initiative
  1. 1Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Bern, Finkenhubelweg 11, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland
  2. 2Centre for Statistics in Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford
  3. 3London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London, London
  4. 4Nordic Cochrane Centre, Copenhagen, Denmark
  5. 5Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Leiden University Hospital, Leiden, Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to: E von Elm strobe{at}

    Poor reporting of research hampers assessment and makes it less useful. An international group of methodologists, researchers, and journal editors sets out guidelines to improve reports of observational studies


    Much biomedical research is observational. The reporting of such research is often inadequate, which hampers the assessment of its strengths and weaknesses and of a study's generalisability. The Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) Initiative developed recommendations on what should be included in an accurate and complete report of an observational study. We defined the scope of the recommendations to cover three main study designs: cohort, case-control and cross-sectional studies. We convened a 2-day workshop in September, 2004, with methodologists, researchers, and journal editors to draft a checklist of items. This list was subsequently revised during several meetings of the coordinating group and in e-mail discussions with the larger group of STROBE contributors, taking into account empirical evidence and methodological considerations. The workshop and the subsequent iterative process of consultation and revision resulted in a checklist of 22 items (the STROBE statement) that relate to the title, abstract, introduction, methods, results, and discussion sections of articles. 18 items are common to all three study designs and four are specific for cohort, case-control, or cross sectional studies. A detailed explanation and elaboration document is published separately and is freely available on the websites of PLoS Medicine, Epidemiology, and Annals of Internal Medicine. We hope that the STROBE statement will contribute to improving the quality of reporting of observational studies.

    Many questions in medical research are investigated in observational studies.1 Much of the research into the cause of diseases relies on cohort, case-control, or cross sectional studies. Observational studies also have a role in research into the benefits and harms of medical interventions.2 Randomised trials cannot answer …

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