Systematic Review| Volume 102, ISSUE 8, P1623-1632, August 2021

Overview of Reviews Using the Template for Intervention Description and Replication (TIDieR) as a Measure of Trial Intervention Reporting Quality

  • Marcel P. Dijkers
    Corresponding author Marcel Dijkers, PhD, WSU Dept of PM&R, Rm 209, Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, 261 Mack Ave, Detroit MI 48201.
    Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan
    Search for articles by this author
Published:November 24, 2020DOI:



      To evaluate the quality of descriptions of interventions in health care research reports, based on a synthesis of reviews that used the Template for Intervention Description and Replication (TIDieR) to rate the completeness and quality of intervention reporting.


      Overview of published reviews. In a systematic search of the literature, 56 review articles were retrieved that had evaluated 3454 primary studies (index articles) using all or most of the 12 TIDieR items, applied to experimental treatment only or treatment and comparator both, separately. If available, percentages “reported completely” were extracted based on the index article, the index article supplemented by related information, and these 2 supplemented by e-mailing the author. Information on the review’s methodology was also extracted.


      Not applicable.


      Not applicable.


      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Percentage of primary studies receiving “adequately reported” ratings on each of the 12 TIDieR items.


      While for treatment arms TIDieR items 1 (name of treatment) and 2 (why of treatment) are generally judged to be reported adequately, the percentage is between 25% and 75% for most other items and is as low as 10% for item 10 (modifications). Comparators are reported even more poorly. Use of additional publications on a trial increased percentages “reported adequately” marginally; e-mailing resulted in significant increases in completeness of reporting. Rehabilitation trials were reported better than nonrehabilitation trials for some TIDieR items and worse for others.


      Reporting on the interventions and comparators of trials is substandard. More extensive use of supplemental digital content and of versions of TIDieR customized for specific domains of research may improve the situation.


      List of abbreviations:

      CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials), RCT (randomized controlled trial), RTSS (Rehabilitation Treatment Specification System), SDC (supplemental digital content), TIDieR (Template for Intervention Description and Replication)
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Baar J.
        • Tannock I.
        Analyzing the same data in two ways: a demonstration model to illustrate the reporting and misreporting of clinical trials.
        J Clin Oncol. 1989; 7: 969-978
        • Sonis J.
        • Joines J.
        The quality of clinical trials published in The Journal of Family Practice, 1974-1991.
        J Family Pract. 1994; 39: 225-235
        • Zola P.
        • Volpe T.
        • Castelli G.
        • et al.
        Is the published literature a reliable guide for deciding between alternative treatments for patients with early cervical cancer?.
        Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1989; 16: 785-797
        • Liberati A.
        • Himel H.N.
        • Chalmers T.C.
        A quality assessment of randomized control trials of primary treatment of breast cancer.
        J Clin Oncol. 1986; 4: 942-951
        • Dijkers M.
        • Kropp G.C.
        • Esper R.M.
        • Yavuzer G.
        • Cullen N.
        • Bakdalieh Y.
        Quality of intervention research reporting in medical rehabilitation journals.
        Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2002; 81: 21-33
        • Chan L.
        • Heinemann A.W.
        • Roberts J.
        Elevating the quality of disability and rehabilitation research: mandatory use of the reporting guidelines.
        Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2014; 95: 415-417
        • Freemantle N.
        • Mason J.M.
        • Haines A.
        • Eccles M.P.
        CONSORT: an important step toward evidence-based health care. Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials.
        Ann Intern Med. 1997; 126: 81-83
        • Boutron I.
        • Moher D.
        • Altman D.G.
        • Schulz K.F.
        • Ravaud P.
        Extending the CONSORT statement to randomized trials of nonpharmacologic treatment: explanation and elaboration.
        Ann Intern Med. 2008; 148: 295-309
        • Boutron I.
        • Altman D.G.
        • Moher D.
        • Schulz K.F.
        • Ravaud P.
        CONSORT statement for randomized trials of nonpharmacologic treatments: a 2017 update and a CONSORT extension for nonpharmacologic trial abstracts.
        Ann Intern Med. 2017; 167: 40-47
        • Hoffmann T.C.
        • Glasziou P.P.
        • Boutron I.
        • et al.
        Better reporting of interventions: Template for Intervention Description and Replication (TIDieR) checklist and guide.
        BMJ. 2014; 348: g1687
        • Ah-See K.W.
        • Molony N.C.
        A qualitative assessment of randomized controlled trials in otolaryngology.
        J Laryngol Otol. 1998; 112: 460-463
        • Levack W.M.M.
        • Rathore F.A.
        • Pollet J.
        • Negrini S.
        One in 11 Cochrane reviews are on rehabilitation interventions, according to pragmatic inclusion criteria developed by Cochrane Rehabilitation.
        Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2019; 100: 1492-1498
        • Abell B.
        • Glasziou P.
        • Hoffmann T.
        Reporting and replicating trials of exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation: do we know what the researchers actually did?.
        Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2015; 8: 187-194
        • Albarqouni L.
        • Glasziou P.
        • Hoffmann T.
        Completeness of the reporting of evidence-based practice educational interventions: a review.
        Med Educ. 2018; 52: 161-170
        • Candy B.
        • Vickerstaff V.
        • Jones L.
        • King M.
        Description of complex interventions: analysis of changes in reporting in randomised trials since 2002.
        Trials. 2018; 19: 110
        • Chantebel R.
        • Chesneau A.
        • Tavernier E.
        • El-Hage W.
        • Caille A.
        Completeness of descriptions of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation intervention: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials of rTMS in depression.
        J ECT. 2019; 35: 7-13
        • Chauvin A.
        • Truchot J.
        • Bafeta A.
        • Pateron D.
        • Plaisance P.
        • Yordanov Y.
        Randomized controlled trials of simulation-based interventions in emergency medicine: a methodological review.
        Intern Emerg Med. 2017; 13: 433-444
        • Cruice M.
        • Blom Johansson M.
        • Isaksen J.
        • Horton S.
        Reporting interventions in communication partner training: a critical review and narrative synthesis of the literature.
        Aphasiology. 2018; 32: 1135-1166
        • Jellison S.
        • Nolan J.
        • Vo N.
        • Thai M.
        • Puljak L.
        • Vassar M.
        Reporting of interventions used in anesthesiology trials: analysis using the Template for Intervention Description and Replication (TIDieR) checklist.
        J Clin Epidemiol. 2020; 118: 115-116
        • Jones E.L.
        • Lees N.
        • Martin G.
        • Dixon-Woods M.
        How well is quality improvement described in the perioperative care literature? A systematic review.
        Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2016; 42: 196-206
        • Liljeberg E.
        • Andersson A.
        • Lovestam E.
        • Nydahl M.
        Incomplete descriptions of oral nutritional supplement interventions in reports of randomised controlled trials.
        Clin Nutr. 2018; 37: 61-71
        • Ludemann A.
        • Power E.
        • Hoffmann T.C.
        Investigating the adequacy of intervention descriptions in recent speech-language pathology literature: is evidence from randomized trials useable?.
        Am J Speech Lang Pathol. 2017; 26: 443-455
        • Mack D.E.
        • Wilson P.M.
        • Bell C.
        • Kelley C.
        The devil is always in the details: intervention description as applied to motivational interviewing and physical activity.
        Can J Behav Sci. 2020; 52: 29-35
        • Meneses-Echavez J.F.
        • Rodriguez-Prieto I.
        • Elkins M.
        • Martinez-Torres J.
        • Nguyen L.
        • Bidonde J.
        Analysis of reporting completeness in exercise cancer trials: a systematic review.
        BMC Med Res Methodol. 2019; 19: 220
        • Pool J.
        • Maissan F.
        • de Waele N.
        • Wittink H.
        • Ostelo R.
        Completeness of the description of manipulation and mobilisation techniques in randomized controlled trials in neck pain; a review using the TiDieR checklist.
        Musculoskelet Sci Pract. 2020; 45: 102098
        • Sugden E.
        • Baker E.
        • Munro N.
        • Williams A.L.
        Involvement of parents in intervention for childhood speech sound disorders: a review of the evidence.
        IntJ Lang Commun Disord. 2016; 51: 597-625
        • Tew G.A.
        • Brabyn S.
        • Cook L.
        • Peckham E.
        The completeness of intervention descriptions in randomised trials of supervised exercise training in peripheral arterial disease.
        PLoS One. 2016; 11e0150869
        • Torgerson T.
        • Johnson A.L.
        • Jellison S.
        • et al.
        Reporting of clinical trial interventions published in leading otolaryngology-head and neck surgery journals.
        Laryngoscope. 2020; 130: E507-E514
        • Vassar M.
        • Pollard J.
        • Rorah D.
        • Jellison S.
        • Harter Z.J.
        • Brasseux S.
        Assessment of the completeness of intervention reporting of randomized clinical trials for alcohol use disorders: effect of the TIDieR checklist and guide.
        Drug Alcohol Depend. 2020; 208: 107824
        • Wayant C.
        • Bindernagel R.
        • Vassar M.
        TIDieR checklist evaluation of clinical trial intervention reporting for recent FDA-approved anticancer medications.
        BMJ Evid Based Med. 2020; 25: 97-101
        • Yamato T.P.
        • Maher C.G.
        • Saragiotto B.T.
        • Hoffmann T.C.
        • Moseley A.M.
        How completely are physiotherapy interventions described in reports of randomised trials?.
        Physiotherapy. 2016; 102: 121-126
        • Yamato T.P.
        • Maher C.G.
        • Saragiotto B.T.
        • Catley M.J.
        • Moseley A.M.
        Rasch analysis suggested that items from the Template for Intervention Description and Replication (TIDieR) checklist can be summed to create a score.
        J Clin Epidemiol. 2018; 101: 28-34
        • Dijkers M.P.
        • Millis S.R.
        The Template for Intervention Description and Replication as a measure of intervention reporting quality: Rasch analysis.
        Arch Rehabil Res Clin Translat. 2020; 2: 100055
        • Howick J.
        • Hoffmann T.
        How placebo characteristics can influence estimates of intervention effects in trials.
        CMAJ. 2018; 190: E908-E911
        • McCarney R.
        • Warner J.
        • Iliffe S.
        • van Haselen R.
        • Griffin M.
        • Fisher P.
        The Hawthorne Effect: a randomised, controlled trial.
        BMC Med Res Methodol. 2007; 7: 30
        • Hart T.
        • Dijkers M.P.
        • Whyte J.
        • et al.
        A theory-driven system for the specification of rehabilitation treatments.
        Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2019; 100: 172-180
        • Whyte J.
        • Dijkers M.P.
        • Hart T.
        • et al.
        The importance of voluntary behavior in rehabilitation treatment and outcomes.
        Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2019; 100: 156-163
        • Negrini S.
        • Armijo-Olivo S.
        • Patrini M.
        • et al.
        The Randomized Controlled Trials Rehabilitation Checklist: methodology of development of a reporting guideline specific to rehabilitation.
        Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2020; 99: 210-215
        • Whyte J.
        • Dijkers M.P.
        • Fasoli S.E.
        • et al.
        Recommendations for reporting on rehabilitation interventions.
        Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2020 Sep 2; ([Epub ahead of print])
        • Slade S.C.
        • Dionne C.E.
        • Underwood M.
        • Buchbinder R.
        Consensus on Exercise Reporting Template (CERT): explanation and elaboration statement.
        Br J Sports Med. 2016; 50: 1428-1437