Skip to content


  • Poster presentation
  • Open Access

The utility of PRISMA for abstracts in two cohorts: a comparison of health technology assessment and Cochrane database of systematic reviews 2009-2014

  • 1, 2,
  • 1, 2,
  • 1, 2 and
  • 1, 2
Trials201516 (Suppl 2) :P163

  • Published:


  • Public Health
  • Systematic Review
  • Economic Evaluation
  • Technology Assessment
  • Health Technology Assessment


Abstracts of systematic reviews (SRs) play an important role in dissemination of results, with most evidence users consulting the abstract before reading a full article and some only ever consulting the abstract. However, abstracts of SRs are often poorly reported. The PRISMA statement (Liberati et al., 2009) for reporting SRs was extended to include guidelines for the production of abstracts (Beller et al., 2013) to improve this.


We aimed to conduct an exploratory evaluation of the adherence to PRISMA guidelines for SR abstracts in two cohorts: Health Technology Assessment (HTA) and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR).


SRs published in HTA and CDSR between 2009-2014 were eligible for inclusion in the study. Twenty SRs from each year were randomly selected from both cohorts and their abstracts assessed against the PRISMA for abstracts checklist (Beller et al., 2013). Two researchers working independently extracted the data; queries were explored and resolved by the team.


Results will report adherence to guidelines in both cohorts and examine areas of weakness. Impact of PRISMA guidelines will be assessed by examining improvements in reporting standards over time, in particular by comparing publications submitted before and after 2013.


The PRISMA for abstracts checklist may have limited utility for complex SRs which include multiple comparisons and economic evaluations. We will discuss possible modifications to increase its usefulness, contributing to complete reporting of complex SR abstracts.

Authors’ Affiliations

National Institute for Health Research Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre, Southampton, UK
University of Southampton, Southampton, UK


© Kirkpatrick et al. 2015

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate. Please note that comments may be removed without notice if they are flagged by another user or do not comply with our community guidelines.