Guidelines for Reporting Your Research

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Reporting Standards

Clinical studies appearing in ASHA journals must meet recognized standards for designing and implementing their studies and reporting the findings:

  • Articles reporting randomized clinical trials must follow the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT).
  • Nonrandomized clinical evaluations must follow the Transparent Reporting of Evaluations with Nonrandomized Designs (TREND) statement.
  • Studies of diagnostic accuracy must meet the Standards for Reporting of Diagnostic Accuracy (STARD).

Additional standards and checklists may be relevant depending on the type of study conducted. Therefore, authors are encouraged to review the Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency of health Research (EQUATOR) information in the Reporting Standards section

Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency of health Research, better known as EQUATOR, is an international initiative with aims very much in alignment the goals of the ASHA Journals Program. The EQUATOR Network mission is to achieve accurate, complete, and transparent reporting of all health research studies to support research reproducibility and usefulness. To support EQUATOR’s goals, ASHA encourages the use of a relevant reporting guideline when writing any communication sciences and disorders research manuscript. It is hoped that by utilizing the appropriate reporting guidelines, the quality of research reports will be improved, enabling easier evaluation and better clinical applicability. 
Meeting these basic reporting requirements will greatly improve the value of your manuscript, may facilitate/enhance the peer review process, and may enhance its chances for eventual publication.

We invite you to submit completed checklists for the relevant guidelines (and flow diagram if applicable) alongside your manuscript, indicating the manuscript page on which each checklist item is found. Editable checklists for reporting guidelines can be found on the EQUATOR Network site (www.equator-network.org ), which also gives general information on how to choose the correct guideline and why guidelines are important. Using a checklist helps to ensure you have used a guideline correctly. 

At minimum, your article should report the content addressed by each item of the identified checklist or state that the item was not considered in the study and, if relevant, the reason why not (for example, if you did not use blinding, your article should explain this). Meeting these basic reporting requirements will greatly improve the value of your manuscript, may facilitate/enhance the peer review process, and may enhance its chances for eventual publication. 

While checklists are not required, we encourage you to complete a checklist because this helps you to check that you have included all of the important information in your article, and because our editors and reviewers will also be asked to make use of reporting guidelines when peer reviewing submitted manuscripts. If the checklist indicates an item that you have not addressed in your manuscript, please either explain in the manuscript text why this information is not relevant to your study or add the relevant information.  

Some common study types and the appropriate guidelines are listed below. If you cannot find an appropriate guideline here, search the full EQUATOR database.

You may need to use more than one guideline, depending on your research. For example, if you randomly assigned human participants to one of two interventions, then conducted unstructured interviews with each participant, you will need to use CONSORT, COREQ, and TIDIER  together. To make sure you collect all of the relevant guidelines, check each major heading, even if you have already found a relevant guideline under a previous major heading.  

If you are reporting a protocol

Use the SPIRIT guideline for the protocol of a clinical trial.

Use the PRISMA-P guideline for the protocol of a systematic review.

If you are reporting a review of a section of the existing literature

Use the ENTREQ guideline for a review of studies that use descriptive data, such as unstructured interviews (qualitative data).

Use the MOOSE  guideline for a review of observational studies.

Use the PRISMA guideline for any other kind of systematic review or meta-analysis.

If you are reporting on animal research

Use the ARRIVE (or the UK versionguideline for research on animals in a lab.  

If you are reporting descriptive data (either alone or alongside quantitative analysis)

Use the COREQ guideline for reporting unstructured interviews and focus groups. 

Use the CARE guideline for reporting one case study or a series of case studies. 

Use the SRQR  guideline for any other descriptive data (qualitative research). 

If you are reporting research into diagnosis

Use the STARD guideline if you compared the accuracy of a diagnostic test with an established reference standard test.

Use the REMARK guideline if you evaluated the prognostic value of a biomarker. 

Use the TRIPOD guideline if you developed, validated, or updated a prognostic or diagnostic prediction modelling tool.

If you are reporting research into an intervention or treatment on people

Use the TIDIER guideline to fully describe your intervention. 

Use the CHEERS  guideline for an economic evaluation of the interventions.

If you are reporting research into an intervention, treatment, exposure, or protective factor on people

Use the CARE guideline for reporting one case study or a series of case studies.

If you selected your participants before they received the intervention/exposure/etc. under study, AND

You controlled which intervention/exposure/etc. they each received, AND

You used a random allocation method to decide which intervention/exposure/etc. they each received (i.e., a randomised controlled trial)

THEN, use the CONSORT guideline or one of its extensions.

If you selected your participants after they received the intervention/exposure/etc. under study, OR

You selected your participants before they received the intervention/exposure/etc. under study AND

you did not control which intervention/exposure/etc. they received (they decided/their doctor decided/life just happened) (i.e., an observational study),

THEN, use the STROBE guideline or one of its extensions.

If you selected your participants before they received the intervention/exposure/etc. under study, AND

If CARE, CONSORT, and STROBE are not applicable to your research AND

You used a non-random way to decide which intervention/exposure/etc. your participants received, such as which hospital they went to or what their clinical symptoms were. (i.e., a non-randomised trial)

THEN, use the TREND guideline.

Bias and Language

ASHA Journals follow the Publication Manual of the APA (6th ed.) style, which states authors should be mindful of the importance of using language that is free of bias or the suggestion thereof. Per APA style, “Constructions that might imply bias against persons on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, racial or ethnic group, disability, or age are unacceptable” (p. 71). The use of person-first (vs. disability-first) language is not only preferable; it is necessary.

Authors who publish in ASHA journals should assume that their articles will be copyedited with these guidelines in mind. We realize that some attempts to follow these guidelines may result in wordiness or clumsy prose. Therefore, we ask authors to review these types of changes when first proofs are received. APA says, “As always, good judgment is required. If your writing reflects respect for your participants and your readers and if you write with appropriate specificity and precision, you will be contributing to the goal of accurate, unbiased communication” (p. 71).

Using the Term “Normal”

The use of “normal” to describe human beings is avoided because it suggests, incorrectly, that the other groups are somehow “abnormal.” Thus, ASHA rewords a phrase such as “normal participants” to “typical participants” to avoid describing a person as “normal.” In a similar way, we rephrase “normal-hearing participants” to “participants with normal hearing” to adhere to person-first language. 

Gender Breakdown of Participants

In listing the gender breakdown of a group of participants, authors should list not only the number of male participants but also the number of female participants, even if the number of female participants can be safely assumed. For example, “30 participants (10 men)” would be expanded to “30 participants (10 men, 20 women).” 

“Deaf” as an Adjective

ASHA has been informed by members of the Deaf community that using “deaf” as an adjective to describe human participants (e.g., “deaf participants”) is acceptable and not seen as biased by the Deaf community. Therefore, no changes would be made in this example. 

Language Services

Before submitting a manuscript to an ASHA journal, authors whose first language is not English may choose to have their manuscript professionally edited. Such editing will check for grammar, spelling, and punctuation; improve clarity and word choice; and ensure that the tone and style is appropriate for the journal.

For the convenience of authors, ASHA now partners with Peerwith. Peerwith is an online marketplace for author services, matching academics seeking support for their work directly with experts who can help out with language, visuals, consulting, or anything else that scientists need. Peerwith partners with the best publishers, societies and institutes to bring author services to a wide academic audience. Find your ASHA expert in language editing, scientific editing or other services by placing a service request today.

Visit the Peerwith website for more information or to submit a service request. ASHA makes no guarantees as to whether use of such services will have a material impact on a peer review decision.