The Consensus on Exercise Reporting Template (CERT) applied to exercise interventions in musculoskeletal trials demonstrated good rater agreement and incomplete reporting

Susan C. Slade, Susanne Finnegan, Clermont E. Dionne, Martin Underwood, Rachelle Buchbinder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To determine inter-rater agreement and utility of the Consensus on Exercise Reporting Template (CERT) for evaluating reporting of musculoskeletal exercise trials. Study Design and Setting: Two independent reviewers applied the CERT to a random sample of 20 exercise trials published 2010 to 2015 identified from searches of PEDro, CENTRAL, and PubMed. Reviewers recorded whether each item criterion was met and detailed missing data, and appraisal time percent agreement and the Prevalence and Bias Adjusted Kappa (PABAK) statistic were used to measure inter-rater agreement. Results: The trials included a range of musculoskeletal conditions (back/neck pain, hip/knee osteoarthritis, tendinopathies). For percent agreement, inter-rater agreement was high (13 items ≥80%) and for PABAK substantial (nine items: 0.61–0.80) and excellent (three items: 0.81–1.0). Agreement was lower for starting level decision rule (percent agreement: 55%, PABAK 0.30); tailoring of exercise (%A: 65%, PABAK 0.40 [95% CI: 0.00 to 0.80]); exercise equipment (percent agreement: 70%, PABAK 0.30); and motivation strategies (percent agreement: 70%, PABAK 0.40). Sixty percent of descriptions were missing information for ≥50% of CERT items. Mean appraisal time was 30 minutes, and the majority of interventions required access to other published papers. Conclusions: The CERT has good inter-rater agreement and can comprehensively evaluate reporting of exercise interventions. Most trials do not adequately report intervention details, and information can be difficult to obtain. Incomplete reporting of effective exercise programs may be remedied by using the CERT when constructing, submitting, reviewing, and publishing articles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-130
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018


  • Exercise
  • Musculoskeletal
  • Publication quality
  • Reporting guidelines

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