Skip to main content
Effective Health Care Program

Development of the RTI Item Bank on Risk of Bias and Precision of Observational Studies

Research Report

People using assistive technology may not be able to fully access information in this file. For additional assistance, please contact us.

Structured Abstract

Objectives

To create a practical and validated item bank for evaluating the risk of bias and precision of observational studies of interventions or exposures included in systematic evidence reviews.

Study Design and Setting

The item bank was created based on 1,492 questions included in earlier instruments, organized by the quality domains identified by Deeks and colleagues. Items were eliminated and refined through face validity, cognitive, content validity, and interrater reliability testing.

Results

The resulting RTI item bank, consisting of 29 questions for evaluating the risk of bias and precision of observational studies of interventions or exposures: (1) captures all of the domains critical for evaluating this type of research; (2) is comprehensive and can be easily lifted "off the shelf" by different researchers; (3) can be adapted to different topic areas and study types (e.g., cohort, case control, cross-sectional and case series studies); and (4) provides sufficient instruction to apply the tool to varied topics.

Conclusions

One bank of items, with specific instructions for focusing abstractor evaluations, can be created to judge the risk of bias and precision of the variety of observational studies that may be used in systematic and comparative effectiveness reviews.