Sound statistical analysis is fundamental to high-quality reporting of quantitative studies. Peer review are also important in determining whether statistical procedures in submitted manuscripts are appropriate and effectively reported. However, the quality of statistical reviews of manuscripts submitted to nursing journals has not been previously evaluated. The purpose of this project was to compare the content and quality of statistical and scientific (general) reviews of manuscripts submitted to Nursing Research. The General Assessment of Reviews of Nursing Research (GARNR) and the Statistical Assessment of Reviews of Nursing Research (SARNR) were used to evaluate 105 reviews of 35 manuscripts assigned to both scientific and statistical review between August 2007 and February 2009. Scientific reviews were rated as more comprehensive, but most did not evaluate statistical aspects of a manuscript. Statistical reviews were more likely to identify fatal flaws, were generally rated higher in overall usefulness to the editor in making a decision on whether to publish, and were rated as more useful to authors for improving a manuscript. Statistical and scientific reviews are complementary and both are necessary. More thorough integration of substantive and methodological content in reviews of quantitative studies has potential for even greater leverage of effort and improved quality of nursing research reports.
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