Evaluation of clinical research reporting in African Journal of Paediatric Surgery.
Nasir AA., Lakhoo K.
BACKGROUND: Clinical research forms the cornerstone of efforts to improve the lives of patients. African Journal of Paediatric Surgery has been a major vehicle for dissemination of information to paediatric surgeons in Africa since 2004. Most studies in the paediatric surgical literature are observational studies. This study aims to assess the adequacy of clinical research reporting in African Journal paediatric surgery. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The authors analyzed all observational studies published in African Journal of Paediatric Surgery from 2006 to 2010 (n = 73). Studies were assessed using a validated tool for 16 baseline criteria essential for the non-biased reporting of clinical data (details regarding surgeons, cases, interventions, and statistical methods). Seven additional criteria pertaining to comparison methods were assessed in studies using controls. RESULTS: Sixty-seven percent of all studies were retrospective, and only 5.5% utilized a control group. There were 72 (98.6%) case series. Most studies met less than half of the essential reporting criteria (mean, 7.3 of 16 baseline criteria). Reporting deficiencies were found in all major aspects of study design and statistical analysis. There is no statistical difference between prospective and retrospective studies. CONCLUSIONS: This study has identified deficiencies in the fundamental elements essential to non-biased reporting of clinical research in African Journal of Paediatric Surgery. We recommend that the Journal adopt the validated standard reporting criteria for these studies to improve the ability of its readers to interpret the relevance of clinical research findings to their own practice.