TReQ: 3 Reporting guidelines

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16 December, 2021

Reading time: 7 minutes

This video tutorial explains how reporting guidelines can help improve the transparency, reproducibility, and quality (TReQ) of applied research.

TReQ (Improving the transparency, reproducibility and quality of your research): 3 Reporting guidelines

Presented by Michael Fell

This video tutorial explains how reporting guidelines can help improve the transparency, reproducibility, and quality (TReQ) of applied research. Reporting guidelines provide guidance on the most important details to report for different kinds of scientific study. We discuss their benefits both for you as a researcher and for science and society in general, and show you how to go about using them. This is video 3 of 6 from our team at University College London.

TReQ reporting guidelines: video transcript

 

[Introduction slide 1: title “TReQ: improving the transparency, reproducibility and quality of your research”]

[Introduction slide 2: title “Video Three: Reporting Guidelines”]

Michael Fell: So in this video, we’re going to be looking at reporting guidelines. I’ll start by explaining how they can be used to support the transparency, reproducibility, and quality of energy research. Then we’ll go over a few examples of different kinds of guidelines and look at how they can be used and applied effectively.

[Slide titled “Why are reporting guidelines important?”]

Michael Fell: When we’re reporting our research, it can be difficult to know which details are really important to include and which ones are fine to leave out.

[Text slide with bullet points:

  • Too many irrelevant details can make your study hard to follow
  • Too little detail can make it difficult for people to know how well-founded your conclusions are]

Michael Fell: On the one hand, including too many irrelevant details can make it difficult to follow the study for the reader but on the other, not including enough information, important information, can make it difficult for people to know how well founded our conclusions are or maybe to apply that method in other settings, and especially it can be difficult or even impossible to reproduce the work that we did to see if the results still stand up.

[Text slide with bullet points:

  • Too many irrelevant details can make your study hard to follow
  • Too little detail can make it difficult for people to know how well-founded your conclusions are]
  • It also makes your work hard or even impossible to reproduce]

Michael Fell: So reporting guidelines can help address these issues by spelling out exactly which details it is important to report for different kinds of study. To illustrate this, let’s take a look at the COREQ guidelines, which were put together to support reporting of qualitative research.

[Slide containing a screen recording of the COREQ guidelines. The screen recording scrolls down and zooms in to show the different sections of the checklist]

Michael Fell: They’re available in the form of a checklist with points covering things like characteristics of the researchers, the study design, the analysis and aspects of the way that findings are presented. For example, in the section on study design, there’s a subsection on sampling, which asks you to report things like how the sample was selected, how the participants were approached, what the sample size was and how many people declined to participate or dropped out.

[Slide titled “The benefits of reporting guidelines”]

Michael Fell: I found that using reporting guidelines helps give me confidence that I’m including everything I need to.

[Slide with an animated icon depicting a person with one arm raised next to a waving flag and title “Gives you confidence that you’re including everything you need to”.]

Michael Fell: And also importantly, it helps me demonstrate that I’m doing this, which can be really helpful when it comes to peer review.

[Slide with an animated icon depicting a person presenting data from a large board behind them and title “Clearly demonstrates you’ve thought through what you need to include”.]

Michael Fell: They can help speed up the writing of the work because it gives you a clear structure to follow…

[Slide with an animated icon depicting a pen with a turning cog behind it and title “Helps speed up the writing process by giving you a clear structure to follow”.]

Michael Fell: …and I actually find it really useful to take a look at the reporting guidelines when I’m planning a study to make sure I’m capturing everything important.

[Slide titled “Picking the best guidelines to follow”]

Michael Fell: One thing you might be wondering is how to pick the most appropriate guidelines to follow.

[Slide containing a screen recording of the Equator Network’s website homepage on a plain turquoise background. The screen recording zooms in to show a mouse clicking on ‘see all 473 reporting guidelines’, and then scrolls down to show the different reporting guidelines on that page.]

Michael Fell: The Equator Network’s a great resource for the field of health research, including advice on which reporting guidelines are most relevant for different kinds of study.

[Slide titled “Reporting guidelines examples:” on a plain turquoise background:

  • CONSORT: primarily used for randomised control trials
  • PRISMA: mainly used for systematic reviews
  • TRIPOD: often used for predictive models
  • COREQ: good for qualitative work]

Michael Fell: To give a few examples, CONSORT guidelines are primarily used for randomised control trials. For systematic reviews, many people turn to PRISMA. For predictive models, TRIPOD is often used. And for qualitative work, COREQ’s a good one to follow, and there are many more.

[Slide titled “Important Considerations”]

Michael Fell: It’s important to note that most of these guidelines were put together with medical research in mind and they might call for a reporting of details that aren’t really relevant in the case of your own work.

[Bullet point slide:

  • Use your discretion to decide which details are appropriate to report for your study type]

Michael Fell: It’s completely fine to use your own discretion and only report the details that you think are relevant, but we think it’s better to consider and dismiss reporting certain details than to neglect considering them all together.

[Bullet point slide:

  • Most commonly used guidelines include a checklist of things you’ll need to report in your study
  • Check this in advance so you know what you need to capture
  • Citing the reporting guidelines you’ve used is good practice]

Michael Fell: So most commonly used guidelines include a checklist of things that you’ll need to report in your study. And it can be helpful to check this in advance of doing the work so that you know you’re capturing everything you need. And finally, lots of researchers will cite the reporting guidelines that they’ve used so readers can know how and why they’ve decided what to report.

[Slide titled “Summary”]

Michael Fell: To sum up, reporting guidelines make it easier for you to decide which details to report when you’re writing up your research. They make it quicker and easier to do this. They make it easier for you to justify what you’ve decided to report, and they make it easier for other researchers to evaluate your work and to reproduce it.

[Closing slide 1: title “Up Next: Preprints”]

[Closing slide 2: title “TReQ: improving the transparency, reproducibility and quality of your research”]

[Closing slide 3: title “For links to further resources and more about us visit: bit.ly/TReQtools”]

[Closing slide 4: UCL logo, CREDS: Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions logo with title “Supported by”]

Banner photo credit: Ussama Azam on Unsplash