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How should we evaluate the risk of bias of physical therapy trials?: A psychometric and meta-epidemiological approach towards developing guidelines for the design, conduct, and reporting of RCTs in Physical Therapy (PT) area: a study protocol. Open Access

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Author or creator
Armijo-Olivo, S.
Fuentes, J.
Rogers, T.
Hartling, L.
Saltaji, H.
Cummings, G. G.
Additional contributors
Subject/Keyword
Delphi procedure
risk of bias
methodological quality
meta-epidemiological
physical therapy
factor analysis
Type of item
Journal Article (Published)
Language
English
Place
Time
Description
Background Numerous tools and items have been developed in all health areas to assess the risk of bias of randomized controlled trials (RCTs). The Cochrane Collaboration (CC) released a new tool to assess bias in RCTs, based on empirical evidence quantifying the association between some design features and estimates of treatment effects (TEs). However, this evidence is limited to medicine and investigating a selected set of components. No such studies have been conducted in other health areas such as Physical Therapy (PT) and allied health professions. Evidence specific to the PT area is needed to understand and quantify the association between design features and TE estimates to inform practice and decision-making in this field. The overall goal of this project is to provide direction for the design, conduct, reporting and bias assessment of PT RCTs. We will achieve this through the following specific objectives and methods. Methods/Design 1) to measure the association between methodological components and other factors (for example, PT area, type of intervention, type of outcomes) and TE estimates in RCTs in PT, 40 randomly selected meta-analyses of RCTs involving PT interventions will be identified from the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Trials will be evaluated independently by two reviewers using the most commonly used tools in the PT field. A two-level analysis will be conducted using a meta-meta-analytic approach; 2) to identify relevant items to evaluate risk of bias of PT trials, an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) will be used to identify the latent structure of the items; 3) to develop guidelines for the design, conduct, reporting, and risk of bias assessment of PT RCTs, items obtained from the factor analysis and the meta-epidemiological approach will be further evaluated by experts in PT through a web-based survey following a Delphi procedure. Discussion The results of this project will have a direct impact on research and practice in PT and are valuable to a number of stakeholders: researchers when designing, conducting, and reporting trials; systematic reviewers and meta-analysts when synthesizing trial results; physiotherapists when making day-to-day treatment decision; and, other healthcare decision-makers, such as those developing policy or practice guidelines.
Date created
2013
DOI
doi:10.7939/R3ZW1904J
License information
Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 3.0 Unported
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Citation for previous publication
Armijo-Olivo, S., Fuentes, J., Rogers, T., Hartling, L., Saltaji, H., & Cummings, G. (2013). How should we evaluate the risk of bias of physical therapy trials?: A psychometric and meta-epidemiological approach towards developing guidelines for the design, conduct, and reporting of RCTs in Physical Therapy (PT) area: a study protocol. Systematic Reviews, 2(1), 88.
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