Purpose: To assess a) whether the quality of reporting of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) has improved since the formulation of the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) statement and b) whether there is any difference in reporting of RCTs between the selected public health dentistry journals.
Materials and Methods: A hand search of the journals of public health dentistry was performed and four journals were identified for the study. They were Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology (CDOE), Community Dental Health (CDH), Journal of Public Health Dentistry (JPHD) and Oral Health and Preventive Dentistry (OHPD). A total of 114 RCTs published between 1990 and 2009 were selected. CONSORT guidelines were applied to each selected article in order to assess and determine any improvement since the publication of CONSORT guidelines. The chi-square test was employed to determine any statistical significant difference in quality of reporting of RCTs before and after the publication of the CONSORT guidelines. A comparison was also done to determine any statistically significant difference in quality of reporting of RCTs between the selected journals.
Results: Title, abstract, discussion and conclusion sections of the selected articles showed adherence to the CONSORT guidelines, whereas the compliance was poor with respect to the methodology section.
Conclusion: The quality of reporting of RCTs is generally poor in public health dentistry journals. Overall, the quality of reporting has not substantially improved since the publication of CONSORT guidelines.
Keywords: CONSORT, public health dentistry, reporting of RCTs