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Table 8 Recommendations for reporting the methods and results of critical appraisal in the final systematic review report

From: Principles and framework for assessing the risk of bias for studies included in comparative quantitative environmental systematic reviews

Recommendation Rationale
1. Report the assessment process and criteria employed for conducting risk of bias assessments, including the recording template, signalling questions and any instructions that the review team followed. The protocol may be cited to avoid repeating the details Clear reporting of all methods employed is essential to facilitate consistent interpretation and ensure reproducibility
2. Report all deviations from the protocol in the systematic review report To maintain objectivity, transparency and reproducibility of methods, any changes made to the risk of bias assessment should be clearly stated in the final review report, with an explanation of why the changes were necessary
3. Summarise individual risk of bias classes appropriately following the protocol-specified method, reporting details for each class of bias separately in an appendix as well as providing a summary table or chart in the final review report Both the individual risk of bias classes and a summary of the overall risk of bias conclusion for each study should be reported for each outcome of interest so that the way the summary informs the data synthesis can be communicated clearly whilst maintaining traceability of judgements to the individual contributing studies
4. Provide a concise statement for each risk of bias judgement explaining the rationale for the judgement Risk of bias judgements are inherently subjective. A clear rationale explaining each judgement is therefore necessary (e.g. presented alongside the categorical judgements in an appendix)
5. Report any limitations of the risk of bias assessment Any limitations of the process should be concisely stated to ensure that the results are interpreted appropriately