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GRADE in Summary of findings tables: how to formulate informative footnotes on the assessment of the quality of evidence

Date and Location




Monday 23 September 2013 - 13:30 - 15:00
Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author

Holger Schunemann

Contact person

Miranda Langendam
Holger Schunemann
Abstract text
Background: Assessing the quality of the body of evidence (QoE) using GRADE criteria and justifying and documenting these assessments are highly desirable for new Cochrane Reviews as part of Summary of Findings (SoF) tables (MECIR standards). Footnotes and explanations should be used to justify and document the QoE assessment. In an evaluation of SoF tables, we observed variability in how authors of Cochrane reviews report their assessments. In order to help review authors to formulate understandable and informative reasons for down- and upgrading the QoE we developed a set of footnotes templates and a checklist. Methods: The templates and checklist are developed based on information from a database of footnotes and comments from SoF tables published in the Cochrane Library Issue 3, 2012 (n=502) in combination with current GRADE guidance. By analyzing the SoF tables database we identified specific areas where more guidance is needed, for example making judgments across domains, explanations in the face of single RCTs and in situations where meta-analysis was inappropriate. User-testing of the templates and checklist will take place in GRADE workshops. The templates and checklist will be included in training materials and GRADEpro software. Development of the guidance is part of the Method Innovation Fund project on SoF tables. Results: We will present the footnotes templates and checklist, including the development and the results of user-testing. Conclusion: We expect that providing specific and concrete guidance on the wording of footnotes and comments in SoF tables will enhance their usefulness and facilitate interpretation.