Background: Influenced by an important paper by Michie et al., outlining the rationale and requirements for detailed reporting of behavior change interventions now required by Implementation Science, we created and refined a checklist to operationalize the Workgroup for Intervention Development and Evaluation Research (WIDER) recommendations in systematic reviews. The WIDER recommendations provide a framework to identify and provide detailed reporting of the essential components of behavior change interventions in order to facilitate replication, further development, and scale-up of the interventions.
Findings: The checklist was developed, applied, and improved over the course of four systematic reviews of knowledge translation (KT) strategies in a variety of healthcare settings conducted by Scott and associates. The checklist was created as one method of operationalizing the work of the WIDER in order to facilitate comparison across heterogeneous studies included in these systematic reviews. Numerous challenges were encountered in the process of creating and applying the checklist across four stages of development. The resulting improvements have produced a 'user-friendly' and replicable checklist to assess the quality of reporting of KT interventions in systematic reviews using the WIDER recommendations.
Conclusions: With journals, such as Implementation Science, using the WIDER recommendations as publication requirements for evaluation reports of behavior change intervention studies, it is crucial to find methods of examining, measuring, and reporting the quality of reporting. This checklist is one approach to operationalize the WIDER recommendations in systematic review methodology.