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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 70

Following PRISMA in a systematic review: Obligation or authority?

1 Social Determinant of Health Research Center, Birjand university of Medical Sciences, Birjand, Iran
2 Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases Research Center, Guilan University of Medical Sciences, Rasht, Iran

Date of Submission23-Oct-2019
Date of Acceptance14-Feb-2020
Date of Web Publication19-Jun-2200

Correspondence Address:
Morteza Arab- Zozani
Moalem Street, School of Public Health, Birjand University of Medical Sciences, Birjand
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijpvm.IJPVM_400_19

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How to cite this article:
Arab- Zozani M, Hassanipour S. Following PRISMA in a systematic review: Obligation or authority?. Int J Prev Med 2020;11:70

How to cite this URL:
Arab- Zozani M, Hassanipour S. Following PRISMA in a systematic review: Obligation or authority?. Int J Prev Med [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Jun 20];11:70. Available from: https://www.ijpvmjournal.net/text.asp?2020/11/1/70/287179

Dear Editor,

Properly reporting of systematic reviews can improve evidence-based medicine, evidence-based management, and evidence-informed policymaking in the health care system.[1],[2],[3] Various checklists have been developed to improve the reporting of these studies.[4],[5],[6] One of the most important guide in this field is Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) statement consisting of seven topic sections and 27 items designed by the PRISMA Group.[7] Although the use of this checklist is not mandatory in systematic review and meta-analysis reports, researchers should adhere to its components if used.

We recently read with interest a systematic review that was published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine by Hasanpour Dehkordi et al. in September 2019.[8] According to the authors, this article was based on the PRISMA statement. Notwithstanding the interesting results, there are several problems in reporting that can be of interest to authors, readers, reviewers, and journal editors. These problems are outlined below:

  • It was not exactly clear whether the study was just a systematic review or involved meta-analysis. The term “meta-analysis” was only used in the abstract and methods section, but there was no trace of meta-analysis and its results in the rest of the paper. Based on the PRISMA, if the researchers have conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis, both the terms should be mentioned in the title
  • One of the parts that the PRISMA statement recommends should be mentioned in the abstract is “study appraisal” and “synthesis method”. None of these were included in the abstract of this article
  • The number of included articles should be reported in the results. Although, the researchers have mentioned this number in the method, according to the PRISMA it should be stated in the results. Also, according to the PRISMA, the “Flow diagram” should be reported in the results
  • Based on the PRISMA, the researcher should mention the search strategy for at least one database, but no search strategy WAs mentioned for any database
  • Researchers had stated that they used the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) checklist to evaluate the quality of the articles. This sentence was under the “study selection” section, and it was not based on the PRISMA as the “quality appraisal” is a separate section according to items 12 and 15 of the PRISMA statement
  • The data extraction form should be prepared in advance, and also the data extraction items should be mentioned. No “data items” in this study were mentioned in the data extraction section of this study
  • The order of writing of the results of this study did not match with the PRISMA items. According to the PRISMA, the results section has several items and was not mentioned in this study
  • Finally, there was no “limitation” section in the discussion. Based on the PRISMA, study limitations must be mentioned before the conclusion.

Given the lack of a specific Problem/Patient/Population, Intervention/Indicator, Comparison, Outcome (PICO) for the study it was difficult to comment on the results of the study. We hope that mentioning these problems can help researchers improve the quality of their article.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

McMichael C, Waters E, Volmink J. Evidence-based public health: What does it offer developing countries? J Public Health 2005;27:215-21.  Back to cited text no. 1
Swingler GH, Volmink J, Loannidis JP. Number of published systematic reviews and global burden of disease: Database analysis. BMJ 2003;327:1083-4.  Back to cited text no. 2
Volmink J, Siegfried N, Robertson K, Gülmezoglu AM. Research synthesis and dissemination as a bridge to knowledge management: The Cochrane collaboration. Bull World Health Organ 2004;82:778-83.  Back to cited text no. 3
Shamsi M, Arab-Zozani M, Mirzaei M. Methodological issue on reporting of systematic review of diagnostic accuracy of rapid ultrasound in shock. Bull Emerg Trauma 2019;7:337-8.  Back to cited text no. 4
Arab-Zozani M, Ghoddoosi-Nejad D, Dehghani M. Tips on reporting a systematic review. Bull Emerg Trauma 2018;6:71-2.  Back to cited text no. 5
Tajvar A, Arab-Zozani M, Hassanipour S. Letter to “Work-related musculoskeletal disorders in Iranian dentists: A systematic review and meta-analysis”. Saf Health Work 2019;10:248-9.  Back to cited text no. 6
Moher D, Liberati A, Tetzlaff J, Altman DG; PRISMA Group. Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses: The PRISMA statement. Ann Intern Med 2009;151:264-9.  Back to cited text no. 7
Dehkordi AH, Sarokhani D, Ghafari M, Mikelani M, Mahmoodnia L. Effect of palliative care on quality of life and survival after cardiopulmonary resuscitation: A systematic review. Int J Prev Med 2019;10:147.  Back to cited text no. 8
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