Summary-of-Findings Tables in Cochrane Reviews Improved Understanding and Rapid Retrieval of Key Information
- Rosenbaum, Sarah Ellen|Glenton, Claire | Oxman, Andrew D.
Objective: To measure the effects of a summary-of-findings (SoF) table on user satisfaction, understanding, and time spent finding key results in a Cochrane review.
Study Design and Setting: We randomized participants in an evidence-based practice workshop (randomized controlled trial [RCT] I) and a Cochrane Collaboration entities meeting (RCT II) to receive a Cochrane review with or without an SoF table. In RCT I, we measured user satisfaction. In RCT II, we measured correct comprehension and time spent finding key results.
Results: RCT I: Participants with the SoF table ( n = 47) were more likely to “agree” or “strongly agree” that it was easy to find results for important outcomes than ( n = 25) participants without the SoF table—68% vs. 40% ( P = 0.021). RCT II: Participants with the SoF table ( n = 18) were more likely to correctly answer two questions regarding results than ( n = 15) those without the SoF table: 93% vs. 44% ( P = 0.003) and 87% vs. 11% ( P < 0.001). Participants with the SoF table spent an average of 90 seconds to find key information compared with 4 minutes for participants without the SoF table ( P = 0.002).
Conclusion: In two small trials, we found that inclusion of an SoF table in a review improved understanding and rapid retrieval of key findings compared with reviews with no SoF table.