Assessment of Usefulness of Randomized Control Trials in Child Health Research Published in 2007 and 2017

J Pediatr. 2024 Apr:267:113900. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2024.113900. Epub 2024 Jan 3.


Objective: To examine how clinical usefulness in pediatric research with randomized controlled trials (RCTs) has changed over a 10-year period via a research usefulness tool composed of unique clinical usefulness criteria.

Study design: We leveraged a pre-existing sample of child health RCTs published in 2007, used by our team in a previous study. Using the same methods, a research librarian executed a literature search in the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials for the 2017 cohort. We included the first 300 eligible citations from the randomly ordered list for each year, creating two cohorts of 300 publications each, 1 in 2007 and 1 in 2017. Each publication was analyzed and data regarding primary and secondary outcomes, as well as 11 unique criteria of clinical usefulness, were extracted. Each publication was then graded using a tool created by our research team. After quality review, statistical analysis was then performed.

Results: Six hundred pediatric RCT publications were included in this review. The mean score increased from 6.07 in 2007 to 9.20 in 2017 (P < .001). Usefulness factors that saw the largest increase in reporting were context placement, funding statements, and conflict of interest statements, while patient centeredness, value for money, and raw data availability remained infrequently reported.

Conclusion: Our results demonstrate that clinical usefulness of pediatric research improved over this 10-year period, but there are still areas that need a great deal of improvement in order to maximize clinical usefulness and reduce research waste.

Keywords: research; usefulness; waste.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Health*
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic*