The Journal of Clinical Epidemiology is the main forum for discussions on prospectively matching pragmatic or explanatory intent with the design of single randomized controlled trial (RCTs). With this paper by Dal-Ré et al1 it has also become a forum for discussing the PRECIS-2 tool2 for retrospectively assessing multiple RCTs within reviews. PRECIS derives from the acronym “PRagmatic Explanatory Continuum Indicator Summary”, with the word pronounced as “pray-see” and meaning “summary”. Although Dal-Ré uses examples of subdiscipline reviews, we discuss also systematic reviews of intervention effectiveness, into which PRECIS-2’s measure of design features and usefulness for choosing between interventions could be incorporated. This would complement the Cochrane Risk of Bias score3, which permits users to consider the quality of trials in their decision.
Zwarenstein, M., Thorpe, K., Treweek, S., & Loudon, K. (2020). PRECIS-2 for retrospective assessment of RCTs in systematic reviews: some thoughts on intention, dichotomization and applicability of RCTs. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 126, 202-206. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclinepi.2020.06.023