Objectives To assess the intention of using a Writing Aid software, which integrates four research reporting guidelines (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials, Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses, Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology and STrengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology-nutritional epidemiology) and their Elaboration & Explanation (E&E) documents during the write-up of research in Microsoft Word compared with current practices.
Design Two-arms crossover randomised controlled trial with no blinding and no washout period.
Setting Face-to-face or online sessions.
Participants 54 (28 in arm 1 and 26 in arm 2) doctoral and postdoctoral researchers.
Interventions Reporting guidelines and their E&E document were randomly administered as Writing Aid or as Word documents in a single 30 min to 1 hour session, with a short break before crossing over to the other study intervention.
Primary and secondary outcomes Using the Technology Acceptance Model, we assessed the primary outcome: the difference in the mean of intention of use; and secondary outcomes: the difference in mean perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness. The three outcomes were measured using questions with a 7-point Likert-scale. Secondary analysis using structural equation modelling (SEM) was applied to explore the relationships between the outcomes.
Results No significant difference in reported intention of use (mean difference and 95% CI 0.25 (–0.05 to 0.55), p=0.10), and perceived usefulness (mean difference and 95% CI 0.19 (–0.04 to 0.41), p=0.10). The Writing Aid performed significantly better than the word document on researchers’ perceived ease of use (mean difference and 95% CI 0.59 (0.29 to 0.89), p<0.001). In the SEM analysis, participants’ intention of using the tools was indirectly affected by perceived ease of use (beta 0.53 p=0.002).
Conclusions Despite no significant difference in the intention of use between the tools, administering reporting guidelines as Writing Aid is perceived as easier to use, offering a possibility to further explore its applicability to enhance reporting adherence.
- reporting guidelines
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Contributors Conceptualisation: CL, DH and PK. Supervision: CL and PK. Wrote the first draft of the manuscript: DH. Contributed to the writing of the manuscript: CL, MKS and PK. Analysis: AA and DH. Agree with the study design, and findings: AA, CL, DH, MKS and PK. All authors have read, and confirm that they meet ICMJE criteria for authorship.
Funding DH is supported by the special research fund (BOF) from Ghent University. CL has received funding from the FWO Research Foundation - Flanders, grant number G0D4815N. MKS receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 676207. There was no other outside funding for this study.
Competing interests Authors (CL, DH and PK) have developed STROBE-nut for nutritional epidemiology cited in this manuscript. MKS works on the reporting guideline STROBE as a part of her doctoral studies. Writing Publication Aid version 1.0 Created by Automaticals Consulting http://www.automaticals.com/consulting. Authors: Carl Lachat (Project manager, concept), Dana Hawwash (Project manager, concept), Patrick Kolsteren (Concept), Nathalie De Cock (Concept), Chen Yang (Concept), Herwig Jacobs (Programming). Copyright (C) 2016, Ghent University www.ugent.be.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Ethics approval The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Ghent University Hospital number EC/2018/0479.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request.
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