Study for the quality assessment of abstracts presented to Italian public health national conferences: a six years survey.

S. Castaldi, A. Colombo, R. D'Errico, F. Bert, R. Siliquini, M. Ceruti, S. Curti, M. Gaietta, E. Garavelli, L. Legouellec, E. Lovato, M. Martinese, F. Visco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Oral and poster presentations at congresses are essential to spread scientific knowledge among the medical community. Many scientific societies have analyzed the quality of papers presented at their meetings but no information on abstracts' evaluation has been presented in Public Health field. This study aims to examine the quality of abstracts presented at annual meetings of Italian Public Health Society (SItI) in the period 2005-2010 through a validated checklist grid, evaluating eight dimensions: Inherency, Structure, Originality, Objectives, Study design, Sources, Results, Conclusions. Each item was scored from 0 to 3 points (max score: 24) and we used the average score in our study (15) as threshold of good quality. A multivariate analysis was performed in order to investigate predictors of score of abstracts presented. A total of 4,399 abstracts (1,172 oral communications, 3,227 posters) was examined. Around 60% were submitted by Universities and around 40% were from Central Italy. The highest quality was found in the fields of Vaccines (average score 18.9), Infectious Diseases (18) and in abstracts submitted by Universities (16.4). Predictors of lower quality identified were geographical area and affiliation (p= 0.002). Abstracts containing well-written Results, Conclusions and Objectives (3 points) were more likely to be of high quality(OR=55.6, OR=41.9, and OR=157.4; p>0.001) CONCLUSIONS: This is the first European study evaluating the quality of abstracts in the public health field. A reliable evaluation tool is fundamental to offer a transparent methodology of assessment and to improve the quality of research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-387
Number of pages11
JournalAnnali di igiene : medicina preventiva e di comunità
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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