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Research Methods & Reporting

The AGREE Reporting Checklist: a tool to improve reporting of clinical practice guidelines

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i1152 (Published 08 March 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i1152

This article has a correction. Please see:

  1. Melissa C Brouwers, professor,
  2. Kate Kerkvliet, research assistant,
  3. Karen Spithoff, research program manager,
  4. AGREE Next Steps Consortium
  1. McMaster University, Department of Oncology, Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON, Canada, L8S 4L8
  1. Correspondence to: M C Brouwers mbrouwer{at}mcmaster.ca
  • Accepted 2 February 2016

AGREE II is a widely used standard for assessing the methodological quality of practice guidelines. This article describes the development of the AGREE Reporting Checklist, which was designed to improve the quality of practice guideline reporting and aligns with AGREE II in its structure and content.

Summary points

  • AGREE II has become an internationally accepted standard for evaluation of the methodological quality of clinical practice guidelines

  • AGREE II items and criteria have been reformatted to create a reporting guide called the AGREE Reporting Checklist

  • The AGREE Reporting Checklist is intended to improve the comprehensiveness, completeness, and transparency of reporting in practice guidelines

  • The AGREE Reporting Checklist can be used by practice guideline developers, guideline users, funders, peer reviewers, and journal editors

The international Appraisal of Guidelines, Research and Evaluation (AGREE) research team developed a tool to assess the methodological quality of practice guidelines—the original was released in 2003 (AGREE),1 and the revised and updated version in 2009 (AGREE II).2 AGREE II has become a widely used standard for evaluating the methodological quality and transparency of practice guidelines internationally.3 It was also designed to inform development and reporting requirements for practice guidelines, but these functions have often been disregarded, in part because its formatting and presentation are geared more towards use as an evaluation tool. Similarly, other tools and methods designed to guide the development of high quality practice guidelines (for example, GRADE,4 IOM Standards,5 G-I-N Standards,6 and Guidelines 2.07) are not designed specifically to guide the reporting of practice guidelines and are not generally used as such.

The EQUATOR Network library (www.equator-network.org), a database of health research reporting guides, does not include any reporting checklists or guides specific to the reporting of practice guidelines. In 2003 Shiffman and colleagues released a proposed reporting framework for …

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