International Journal of Preventive Medicine

: 2020  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 70-

Following PRISMA in a systematic review: Obligation or authority?

Morteza Arab- Zozani1, Soheil Hassanipour2,  
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

Correspondence Address:
Morteza Arab- Zozani
Moalem Street, School of Public Health, Birjand University of Medical Sciences, Birjand

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

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 2020 Dec 6 ];11:70-70
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Full Text

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 titleOne 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 articleThe 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 resultsBased on the PRISMA, the researcher should mention the search strategy for at least one database, but no search strategy WAs mentioned for any databaseResearchers 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 statementThe 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 studyThe 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 studyFinally, 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.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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