Experience of developing a discussion group to understand study methods: the BECA Group (Brazilian Evidence-based Critical Appraisal group)




Poster session 5


Thursday 27 October 2016 - 10:30 to 11:00


All authors in correct order:

Porfírio G1, Martimbianco A1, Parra M1, Porfírio G1, Freitas C1, Logullo P1, Mazzuco A1, Batista M1, Cruz C1, Albuquerque J1, Tavares M1, Silva A1, Pedrosa M1, Torloni M1, Atallah Á1, Riera R1
1 Brazilian Cochrane Centre, Brazil
Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author:

Patricia Logullo

Contact person:

Abstract text
Background: Many researchers have difficulties understanding study methods and this can lead to uncertainties about the conclusions presented. Increasing knowledge about methodological aspects of studies is useful to understand and critically appraise the internal validity in scientific research.

Objectives: We describe the experience of creating a group to promote the discussion of methodological issues in scientific studies.

Methods: In June 2013, collaborators from Cochrane Brazil voluntarily decided to create a study group to improve their capacity to assess the methods of studies critically. The BECA Group (Brazilian Evidence-based Critical Appraisal Group) started meeting weekly at Universidade Federal de São Paulo for two-hour study and discussion sessions. The meetings were broadcast through Skype so that interested participants from other Brazilian cities and from Chile could join the discussions.

Results: From June 2013 to April 2016, we promoted 77 meetings that addressed various topics such as: Cochrane 'Risk of bias' tables, stepped-wedge study design, the AMSTAR (A MeaSurement Tool to Assess systematic Reviews) tool, network meta-analysis, confidence intervals and P values, equivalence and non-inferiority studies, GRADE (Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations), assessment of publication bias and MECIR (Methodological Expectations of Cochrane Intervention Reviews). An average of 10 researchers participated in each meeting (range 5 to 18). The vast majority of the participants were satisfied with the experience of the BECA group and would recommend it to their peers. At this time, there are four publications as result of the discussions and there are at least four more papers in development.

Conclusions: The meetings led to increased knowledge about methodological aspects of studies and helped participants to improve their critical appraisal of scientific publications. The group is ongoing and seeking to increase the number of participants.