Two alternatives versus the standard Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) summary of findings (SoF) tables to improve understanding in the presentation of systematic review results: A three-arm, randomised, controlled, non-inferiority trial

Juan José Yepes-Nuñez, Rebecca L. Morgan, Lawrence Mbuagbaw, Alonso Carrasco-Labra, Stephanie Chang, Susanne Hempel, Paul Shekelle, Mark Helfand, Tejan Baldeh, Holger J. Schünemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective Summary of findings (SoF) tables present results of systematic reviews in a concise and explicit format. Adopted by many review groups including the Cochrane Collaboration and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), optimal understanding of SoF table may be influenced by the type of information being conveyed and objectives or preferences of the end user. This study aims to compare three SoF table formats in terms of understanding, accessibility, satisfaction and preference with systematic review users. Methods The primary objective of this three-arm randomised controlled non-inferiority trial is to investigate whether an alternative Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) SoF table or Evidence-based Practice Center SoF table is non-inferior to the current GRADE SoF table in the understanding of the information presented to systematic review users, particularly for descriptive findings. Researchers, clinical practice guideline developers, policy-makers or knowledge transfer professionals will be recruited. Data will be collected electronically at baseline and after randomisation. Non-inferiority would be declared if the difference in the proportion of participants who understand the information displayed in the alternative SoF table is 10% or less. Ethics and dissemination The Hamilton Integrated Research Ethics Board reviewed this protocol. The findings from this study will be disseminated through a publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Trial registration number NCT02813941.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere015623
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2018



  • AHRQ
  • randomized controlled trials
  • summary of finding tables
  • systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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