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 Web sites of PLoS Medicine, Annals of Internal Medicine, and Epidemiology. We hope that the STROBE Statement will contribute to improving the quality of reporting of observational studies.
Funding: The workshop was funded by the European Science Foundation (ESF). Additional funding was received from the Medical Research Council Health Services Research Collaboration and the National Health Services Research and Development Methodology Programme. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
Citation: von Elm Erik, Altman Douglas G, Egger Matthias, Pocock Stuart J, Gøtzsche Peter C, Vandenbroucke Jan P. The Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) Statement: Guidelines for Reporting Observational Studies. UIJ. 2009 Feb;2(1). doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040296
Copyright: © 2007 von Elm et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. For details on further use, see the STROBE Web site (http://www.strobe-statement.org/). In order to encourage dissemination of the STROBE Statement, this article will also be published and made freely available by Annals of Internal Medicine, BMJ, Bulletin of the World Health Organization, Epidemiology, The Lancet, and Preventive Medicine.
Abbreviations: CONSORT, Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials; STREGA, STROBE Extension to Genetic Association Studies; STROBE, Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology
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