University of Oulu

Nieminen, P. Ten Points for High-Quality Statistical Reporting and Data Presentation. Appl. Sci. 2020, 10, 3885.

Ten points for high-quality statistical reporting and data presentation

Saved in:
Author: Nieminen, Pentti1
Organizations: 1Medical Informatics and Data Analysis Research Group, University of Oulu, 90014 Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.6 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-08-28


Background: Data analysis methods have become an essential part of empirical research papers, especially in health sciences and medical research. It has previously been reported that a noteworthy percentage of articles have flaws in their statistical reporting. Reporting problems have been a long-term issue, and despite continued efforts to improve the situation, improvements have been far from satisfactory. One explanation is an inadequate assessment of statistical reporting during peer review. This communication proposes a short instrument to assess the quality of data analysis reporting in manuscripts and published papers. Method: A checklist-type instrument was developed by selecting and refining items from previous reports about the quality of statistical reporting in medical journals and from published guidelines for reporting and data presentation. Items were pretested and modified during pilot studies. A total of 160 original medical research articles that were published in 4 journals were evaluated to test the instrument. Interrater and intrarater agreements were examined by comparing quality scores assigned to 40 articles published in a psychiatric journal. Results: The data analysis reporting test consists of nine questions that assess the quality of health research from a reader’s perspective. The composed scale has a total score ranging from 0 to 10 and discriminated between journals and study designs. A high score suggested that an article had a good presentation of findings in tables and figures and that the description of analysis methods was helpful to readers. Interrater and intrarater agreements were high. Conclusion: An applicable checklist for quickly testing the statistical reporting quality of manuscripts and published research papers was developed. This instrument aims to improve the quality of empirical research in scientific fields where statistical methods play an important role.

see all

Series: Applied sciences
ISSN: 2076-3417
ISSN-E: 2076-3417
ISSN-L: 2076-3417
Volume: 10
Issue: 11
Article number: 3885
DOI: 10.3390/app10113885
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
3121 General medicine, internal medicine and other clinical medicine
Copyright information: © 2020 by the author. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (