One approach that the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) urges researchers and grant seekers to utilize for both Goal 3 (Efficacy/Replication) and Goal 4 (Scale-up) studies is the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials or CONSORT. The goal of CONSORT is to ensure comprehensive and transparent reporting of vital information within studies, namely randomized control trials (RCTs). CONSORT provides researchers with a checklist of 25 items (the CONSORT Statement) that should appear in a publication along with a flow diagram template illustrating a study’s different phases (e.g. recruitment, intervention, follow up, etc.)
The premise of CONSORT began during the 1990s when it was noted that many publications in the medical field lacked clear and adequate reporting of their methods, analyses, and findings thus calling into question the efficacy of their studies. Soon after, the CONSORT group was formed, a collaborative effort made up of researchers, statisticians, and journal editors from all over the world. The first CONSORT statement was released in 1996, with the most recent update occurring in 2010 in response to new developments in research design approaches and methodology. Presently, the CONSORT statement is supported by over 400 journals around the world and has been translated into twelve different languages. Checklist information regarding the most common RCT designs, along with other design types (e.g. randomized cluster) is easily available on the CONSORT website.
Although CONSORT’s roots lie in the medical field, the standard by which it seeks to establish is well needed in other disciplines such as educational research. CONSORT provides a simple framework by which all researchers in the education field can work from, thus guaranteeing that their publications include information critical for interpretation and replication. Furthermore, CONSORT ensures consistency across studies regardless of intervention type or participant focus.
For additional and more detailed information regarding CONSORT, please consult the following websites:
CONSORT 2010. (2016, September 21). Retrieved from http://www.consort-statement.org/consort-2010
Schulz, K., Altman, D., Moher, D. (2010, March 24). CONSORT 2010 statement: Updated guidelines for reporting parallel group randomized trials. Retrieved from http://www.bmj.com/content/340/bmj.c332 (Links to an external site.)