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Reporting Research Results: Strategies to Address Errors Research Paper

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Updated: Sep 19th, 2022

Introduction

Reporting results is one of the important components of research. In fact, it is a summary of the work done. Reporting research results predetermines attitude to research in general. Only a few interested people can read detailed research materials, thus reporting results is an opportunity to announce the findings and provide recommendations. Observational research is frequently used in medicine. However, its reporting is not detailed and explicit enough (Vandenbroucke et al., 2007). It is suggested to apply the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) Statement which can “improve the reporting of observational research” (Vandenbroucke et al., 2007, p. 805). This approach is widely applied, for example, in molecular epidemiology (Gallo et al., 2012), for respondent-driven sampling studies (White et al., 2015), or in clinical research (Feng & Li, 2017). Although STROBE was designed specifically for the research in epidemiology, it can be useful in other fields.

Analysis of Recommendations

Reporting qualitative research results includes main findings and some evidence (O’Brien, Harris, Beckman, Reed, & Cook, 2014). They are the basis for the recommendations which are formulated by the researchers. In the selected scenario, the study conducted was dedicated to the issue of pre-marital birth and the success of subsequent marriages. The study revealed that less-educated women were 30 percent more exposed to pre-marital birth than highly educated women. Moreover, 40 percent of the African-American women in the study had children before marriage. The study concluded that marriage counseling should be provided to less educated women and African-American women. I consider that the suggested recommendations are overstated. The results presented in the scenario are not detailed and cannot be used as the basis for such general recommendations. Moreover, there is no information on the number of educated women who had children before the marriage which does not allow understanding the real results.

Strategies to Address and Correct Errors

Due to STROBE recommendations, there appears an opportunity to correct the presentations of descriptive observational studies (Vandenbroucke et al., 2007). First of all, it is necessary to provide characteristics of the research participants (for example, social and demographic). It will give a better understanding of the sample and allow a more comprehensive interpretation of the results. Another strategy to improve the results presentation is based on the STROBE recommendation concerning limitations and the general interpretation of the research. Thus, it is important to outline the limitations of the research. It can be done after consideration of the probable sources of inaccuracy and bias. Finally, the interpretation of results including all stages of analysis, discussion of objectives and earlier studies or other relating information should be provided. At this stage, there is a possibility to evaluate the validity and meaningfulness of the research results. A simple presentation of some figures as in the suggested scenario does not present the whole scope of the research.

Conclusions

Generally speaking, the stage of results presentation is one of the most responsible in the study. The research can have meaningful results, but their wrong presentation will evaluate them. To improve the reporting of observational research, the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) Statement can be applied. It has distinct recommendations on the presentation of every stage of qualitative observational research. It is focused on cohort, case-control, and cross-sectional studies, thus covering the main types of investigations in epidemiology.

References

Feng, J.J., & Li, Y.H. (2017). Effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on depression and anxiety in the patients with incomplete spinal cord injury (a STROBE-compliant article). Medicine, 96(29). Web.

Gallo, V., Egger, M., McCormac, V., Farmer, P., Ioannidis, J.P.A., Kirsch-Volders, M. … Vineis, P. (2012). Strengthening the reporting of observational studies in epidemiology – Molecular Epidemiology (STROBE-ME): An extension of the STROBE statement. Mutagenesis, 27(3), 17-29. Web.

O’Brien, B.C., Harris, I.B., Beckman, T.J., Reed, D.A., & Cook, D.A. (2014). Standards for reporting qualitative research: A synthesis of recommendations. Academic Medicine, 89(9), 1-7.

Vandenbroucke, J.P., Elm, E., Altman, D.G., Gøtzsche, P.C., Mulrow, C.D., Pocock, S.J. … Egger, M. (2007). Strengthening the reporting of observational studies in epidemiology (STROBE): Explanation and elaboration. Epidemiology, 18(6), 805-835.

White, R., Hakim, A.J., Salganik, M.J., Spiller, M.W., Johnston, L.G., Kerr, L. … Hladik, W. (2015). Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology for respondent-driven sampling studies: ‘‘STROBE-RDS’’ statement. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 68, 1463-1471.

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