Making Narrative Statements to Describe Treatment Effects

M. Hassan Murad, Celia Fiordalisi, Jennifer Pillay, Timothy J. Wilt, Elizabeth O’Connor, Leila Kahwati, Adrian V. Hernandez, Carolyn M. Rutter, Roger Chou, Ethan M. Balk, Dale W. Steele, Ian J. Saldanha, Orestis A. Panagiotou, Stephanie Chang, Martha Gerrity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Accurately describing treatment effects using plain language and narrative statements is a critical step in communicating research findings to end users. However, the process of developing these narratives has not been historically guided by a specific framework. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Evidence-based Practice Center Program developed guidance for narrative summaries of treatment effects that identifies five constructs. We explicitly identify these constructs to facilitate developing narrative statements: (1) direction of effect, (2) size of effect, (3) clinical importance, (4) statistical significance, and (5) strength or certainty of evidence. These constructs clearly overlap. It may not always be feasible to address all five constructs. Based on context and intended audience, investigators can determine which constructs will be most important to address in narrative statements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-199
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • dissemination
  • evidence-based medicine
  • plain language summary
  • statistics and numerical data
  • systematic reviews

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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