A number of empirical studies have highlighted the need for improvements in the reporting of conference abstracts and the abstracts of journal articles presenting the results of randomized trials (215). Currently, the CONSORT Statement provides limited guidance about abstracts and, while it encourages the use of structured abstracts, this is not a formal requirement.
We are extending the current CONSORT Statement to develop a checklist of essential items to be included in any conference or journal abstract reporting the results of a randomized trial.
In developing this checklist, we began with a list of possible checklist items generated from existing quality assessment tools including the CONSORT Statement and other guidance for the structured reporting of journal abstracts and short reports. Additional items were generated as part of a DPhil thesis assessing the quality of trials reported in conference proceedings and journal abstracts.
We used a modified-Delphi consensus method to select and reduce the number of possible checklist items. A total of 109 participants were invited to participate in the survey and the response rate was 61%. The results of the Delphi survey were presented at the meeting of the CONSORT Group in Montebello, Canada in January 2007. Participants reviewed the proposed checklist items developed from the Delphi survey and disucssed whether items should be included, excluded or modified in the final checklist.
Following this meeting the checklist is being revised and circulated to the steering committee and meeting participants to ensure that it reflects the discussions. We anticipate that this new extension will be published by the end of 2007.