Investigating the Adequacy of Intervention Descriptions in Recent Speech-Language Pathology Literature: Is Evidence From Randomized Trials Useable?

Am J Speech Lang Pathol. 2017 May 17;26(2):443-455. doi: 10.1044/2016_AJSLP-16-0035.


Purpose: To evaluate the completeness of intervention descriptions in recent randomized controlled trials of speech-language pathology treatments.

Method: A consecutive sample of entries on the speechBITE database yielded 129 articles and 162 interventions. Interventions were rated using the Template for Intervention Description and Replication (TIDieR) checklist. Rating occurred at 3 stages: interventions as published in the primary article, secondary locations referred to by the article (e.g., protocol papers, websites), and contact with corresponding authors.

Results: No interventions were completely described in primary publications or after analyzing information from secondary locations. After information was added from correspondence with authors, a total of 28% of interventions was rated as complete. The intervention elements with the most information missing in the primary publications were tailoring and modification of interventions (in 25% and 13% of articles, respectively) and intervention materials and where they could be accessed (18%). Elements that were adequately described in most articles were intervention names (in 100% of articles); rationale (96%); and details of the frequency, session duration, and length of interventions (69%).

Conclusions: Clinicians and researchers are restricted in the usability of evidence from speech-language pathology randomized trials because of poor reporting of elements essential to the replication of interventions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Evidence-Based Practice*
  • Humans
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Publishing*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic*
  • Speech-Language Pathology*
  • Translational Research, Biomedical*