Critical appraisal of fundamental items in approved clinical trial research proposals in Mashhad University of Medical Sciences.
- Citation data:
Medical journal of the Islamic Republic of Iran, ISSN: 1016-1430, Vol: 31, Issue: 1, Page: 74
- Publication Year:
Writing, designing, and conducting a clinical trial research proposal has an important role in achieving valid and reliable findings. Thus, this study aimed at critically appraising fundamental information in approved clinical trial research proposals in Mashhad University of Medical Sciences (MUMS) from 2008 to 2014. This cross-sectional study was conducted on all 935 approved clinical trial research proposals in MUMS from 2008 to 2014. A valid and reliable as well as comprehensive, simple, and usable checklist in sessions with biostatisticians and methodologists, consisting of 11 main items as research tool, were used. Agreement rate between the reviewers of the proposals, who were responsible for data collection, was assessed during 3 sessions, and Kappa statistics was calculated at the last session as 97%. More than 60% of the research proposals had a methodologist consultant, moreover, type of study or study design had been specified in almost all of them (98%). Appropriateness of study aims with hypotheses was not observed in a significant number of research proposals (585 proposals, 62.6%). The required sample size for 66.8% of the approved proposals was based on a sample size formula; however, in 25% of the proposals, sample size formula was not in accordance with the study design. Data collection tool was not selected appropriately in 55.2% of the approved research proposals. Type and method of randomization were unknown in 21% of the proposals and dealing with missing data had not been described in most of them (98%). Inclusion and exclusion criteria were (92%) fully and adequately explained. Moreover, 44% and 31% of the research proposals were moderate and weak in rank, respectively, with respect to the correctness of the statistical analysis methods. Findings of the present study revealed that a large portion of the approved proposals were highly biased or ambiguous with respect to randomization, blinding, dealing with missing data, data collection tool, sampling methods, and statistical analysis. Thus, it is essential to consult and collaborate with a methodologist in all parts of a proposal to control the possible and specific biases in clinical trials.