Spotlight on the STROBE Statement

If you’re working on reporting an observational epidemiologic study, you may want to know more about the STROBE Statement.

What is STROBE?
Short for STrengthening the Reporting of OBservational Studies in Epidemiology, the STROBE Statement provides recommendations on how to report cohort, case-control, and cross-sectional studies. Developed by epidemiologists, methodologists, statisticians, researchers, and journal editors, STROBE and its 22-item checklist help you critically appraise and interpret your results. Published simultaneously in 2007 by a number of journals, STROBE aims to “ensure clear presentation of what was planned, done, and found in an observational study.” More than 100 journals and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors endorse STROBE.

What STROBE is not
A 2011 study by da Costa et al sheds important light about the misuse of STROBE. The STROBE Statement is

  • not a methodological guideline.
  • not to be used for designing or conducting observational research.
  • not to be used for assessing methodological quality.

What are the specific STROBE recommendations?
As you prepare to use STROBE, it can help to have a copy of the STROBE explanation and elaboration article. With the explanation as a reference, you can follow its examples as you proceed through the checklist. Each STROBE checklist provides specific recommendations for the sections of your paper—from the title and abstract to the discussion. Use the following links for PDF checklists according to study type:

In an effort to improve research transparency, PLoS Medicine requires a completed STROBE checklist to be submitted and printed alongside any cohort, case-control, or cross-sectional study. The specific STROBE checklist for PLoS Medicine is available as a combined PDF with info for all study types.

STROBE Statement information has been translated into Chinese, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Persian, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Where can I learn more?
If your study includes biomarker reporting, you may consider using the STROBE-ME Statement that complements STROBE by focusing on molecular epidemiology.

If your study includes genetic association reporting, you may want to consider using the STREGA Statement that builds on STROBE by focusing on genetic associations.

For STROBE-related commentaries, discussions, news, and the most up-to-date versions of STROBE checklists, refer to the STROBE Statement website.