Reporting of health equity considerations in equity-relevant observational studies: Protocol for a systematic assessment

Omar Dewidar, Tamara Rader, Hugh Waddington, Stuart G. Nicholls, Julian Little, Billie Jo Hardy, Tanya Horsley, Taryn Young, Luis Gabriel Cuervo, Melissa K. Sharp, Catherine Chamberlain, Beverley Shea, Peter Craig, Daeria O. Lawson, Anita Rizvi, Charles Shey Wiysonge, Tamara Kredo, Miriam Nkangu Nguliefem, Elizabeth Ghogomu, Damian FrancisElizabeth Kristjansson, Zulfiqar Bhutta, Alba Antequera Martin, G. J. Melendez-Torres, Tomas Pantoja, Xiaoqin Wang, Janet Jull, Janet Hatcher Roberts, Sarah Funnell, Howard White, Alison Krentel, Michael Johnson Mahande, Jacqueline Ramke, George A. Wells, Jennifer Petkovic, Peter Tugwell, Kevin Pottie, Lawrence Mbuagbaw, Vivian Welch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The mitigation of unfair and avoidable differences in health is an increasing global priority. Observational studies including cohort, cross-sectional and case-control studies tend to report social determinants of health which could inform evidence syntheses on health equity and social justice. However, the extent of reporting and analysis of equity in equity-relevant observational studies is unknown. Methods: We define studies which report outcomes for populations at risk of experiencing inequities as “equity-relevant”. Using a random sampling technique we will identify 320 equity-relevant observational studies published between 1 January 2020 to 27 April 2022 by searching the MEDLINE database. We will stratify sampling by 1) studies in high-income countries (HIC) and low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) according to the World Bank classification, 2) studies focused on COVID and those which are not, 3) studies focused on populations at risk of experiencing inequities and those on general populations that stratify their analyses. We will use the PROGRESS framework which stands for place of residence, race or ethnicity, occupation, gender or sex, religion, education, socioeconomic status, social capital, to identify dimensions where inequities may exist. Using a previously developed data extraction form we will pilot-test on eligible studies and revise as applicable. Conclusions: The proposed methodological assessment of reporting will allow us to systematically understand the current reporting and analysis practices for health equity in observational studies. The findings of this study will help inform the development of the equity extension for the STROBE (Strengthening the Reporting of Observational studies in Epidemiology) reporting guidelines.

Original languageEnglish
Article number615
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Observational studies
  • health equity
  • research methodology
  • research reporting
  • study design


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