Methodological standards in radiographer plain film reading performance studies

S Brealey, A J Scally, N B Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review


The objectives of this paper are to raise awareness of the methodological standards that can affect the quality of radiographer plain-film reading performance studies and to determine the frequency with which these standards are fulfilled. Multiple search methods identified 30 such studies from between 1971 and the end of June 1999. The percentage of studies that fulfilled criteria for the 10 methodological standards were as follows. (1) Performance of a sample size calculation, 3%; (2) definition of a normal and abnormal report, 97%; (3) description of the sequence of events through which films passed before reporting, 94%; (4) analysis of individual groups of observers within a combination of groups, 50% (5) appropriate choice of reference standard, 80%; (6) appropriate choice of arbiter, 57%; (7) appropriate use of a control, 22%; (8) analysis of pertinent clinical subgroups, e.g. body areas, patient type, 44%; (9) availability of data for re-calculation, 59%; and (10) presentation of indeterminate results, 69%. These findings indicate variation in the application of the methodological standards to studies of radiographer's film reading performance. Careful consideration of these standards is an essential component of study quality and hence the validity of the evidence base used to underpin radiographic reporting policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-113
Number of pages7
JournalThe British Journal of Radiology
Issue number890
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2002



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