Although PRISMA is the most popular tool for reporting systematic reviews, no previous study has been conducted to examine the views of review authors towards its items.
The aim of the current study was to explore the views of review authors in nursing journals towards the PRISMA statement and its items.
We conducted a cross-sectional e-survey in January 2018. We invited corresponding authors who had published any review or meta-analysis in nursing journals from 2011 to 2017 to participate. We extracted email addresses from a PubMed search.
There were 37 items in the questionnaire including five collecting demographic information, five about the experience of conducting a review and 27 about the participants' views of the importance of the PRISMA items using a 10-point Likert-type scale. We sent the invitation email and reminder in the first and third week of January 2018. We used descriptive and inferential statistics to analyse the data.
A total of 230 authors attempted the survey and 181 completed it, constituting a response rate of 9.2%. All respondents knew what a systematic review was. One hundred and sixty (88.4%) had published a systematic review and 166 (91.7%) were aware of the PRISMA statement. We asked the 166 respondents to rate the overall importance of following the PRISMA guideline in conducting and reporting a systematic review using a 10-point scale. An average score of 8.66 (standard deviation (SD) 1.35) was reported.
Respondents rated the importance of each item and the results are shown in Table 1. The mean scores ranged from 7.74 (item 5) to 9.32 (item 17) with a median of 8.71 (item 21). The score for item 5 was significantly lower than the overall rating (i.e. 8.66) while the scores for six items, namely item 7 and 9 from Methods section, item 17 from Results section and all three items (i.e. 24, 25 and 26) from the Discussion section, were significantly higher than the overall rating.
Most respondents thought that the PRISMA statement was very important and the mean overall rating was 8.66 (SD 1.35), implying high importance in general. In terms of the individual items, all received an average score over 8.0, with the exception of item 5, which is related to the review protocol. One potential explanation for the low rating for this item is unawareness about the medium for publishing or registering a protocol.
Patient or healthcare consumer involvement:
The participants were authors of reviews in nursing journals.