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Journal article Open Access

The STROBE extensions: protocol for a qualitative assessment of content and a survey of endorsement

Melissa Sharp; Ana Utrobičić; Guadalupe Gómez; Erik Cobo; Elizabeth Wager; Darko Hren




The STrengthening the Reporting of OBservational studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) Statement was developed in response to inadequate reporting of observational studies. In recent years, several extensions to STROBE have been created to provide more nuanced field-specific guidance for authors. The content and the prevalence of extension endorsement have not yet been assessed. Accordingly, there are two aims: (1) to classify changes made in the extensions to identify strengths and weaknesses of the original STROBE checklist and (2) to determine the prevalence and typology of endorsement by journals in fields related to extensions.


Methods and analysis

Two independent researchers will assess additions in each extension. Additions will be coded as ‘field specific’ (FS) or ‘not field specific’ (NFS). FS is defined as particularly relevant information for a single field and guidance provided generally cannot be extrapolated beyond that field. NFS is defined as information that reflects epidemiological or methodological tenets and can be generalised to most, if not all, types of observational research studies. Intraclass correlation will be calculated to measure reviewers’ concordance. On disagreement, consensus will be sought. Individual additions will be grouped by STROBE checklist items to identify the frequency and distribution of changes. Journals in fields related to extensions will be identified through National Library of Medicine PubMed Broad Subject Terms, screened for eligibility and further distilled via Ovid MEDLINE® search strategies for observational studies. Text describing endorsement will be extracted from each journal’s website. A classification scheme will be created for endorsement types and the prevalence of endorsement will be estimated. Analyses will use NVivo V.11 and SAS University Edition.


Ethics and dissemination This study does not require ethical approval as it does not involve human participants. This study has been preregistered on Open Science Framework.

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