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Table 2 Verbatim examples of intervention reporting advice from journals’ Instructions to Authors

From: Reporting of interventions in randomised trials: an audit of journal Instructions to Authors

Type of instruction Verbatim examples
Non-specific instructions “Essential features of interventions …’ (in three journals)
“Describe study procedures, including any interventions …”
“A clear description of all interventions and comparisons …”
“… should give a description of the treatment, intervention, technique or procedure…”
“… include enough information about the intervention(s) and comparator(s) (even if this was usual care) for reviewers and readers to understand fully what happened in the study.”
“Describe the intervention itself and implementation …”
Instructions that recommend providing the intervention manual “It is essential that reports of trials provide sufficient details on interventions so that readers can judge the applicability and clinical relevance of results. Authors are encouraged to provide a trial treatment manual as an online-only appendix.”
“Evaluations involving behavioural interventions must include full manuals or protocols (or at least very detailed descriptions) of those interventions as supplementary files to be included published with the online version of the article.”
“We will only consider protocols relating to interventions in which there is a commitment to public sharing of the intervention content in full.”
Instructions that suggest specific elements of the intervention should be reported “The essential features of any interventions should be described, including their method and duration of administration. The intervention should be named by its most common clinical name, and non-proprietary drug names should be used.”
“Any instruments or drugs (including contrast) utilised should be identified with trade names and manufacturer’s name and location in parentheses. Procedures should be described in sufficient detail to allow others to reproduce the study.”
“Intervention reports are … allowed 4 additional pages over the 16 page limit for detailed description. Provide extensive details regarding any interventions (see Conn, WJNR 34, 427–433 for intervention details to report).”
“Any treatment (including surgery) should be briefly described, particularly when surgeons apply unique approaches or when all patients did not undergo essentially identical procedures. Previously described approaches require only brief mention with citations to those methods. All relevant aspects of post treatment follow-up care should be described…. Authors must note whether the treatment was uniform among all patients or varied. If varied, they should specify the indications for treating patients in varying ways…”
  “Identify the methods, apparatus (manufacturer’s name in parentheses), and procedures in sufficient detail to allow other researchers to reproduce the results. Identify precisely all drugs and chemicals used, including generic names, dosages, and routes of administration. If trade names for drugs and chemicals are included, give the manufacturer’s name and location.”