Table 2 Key features of the SQUIRE guidelines that differ from the initial draft
SQUIRE section and itemAdded or changed feature of SQUIRE
Title and abstractFocuses on the accessibility/retrievability of your article
1 TitleSpecifies what is meant by improvement, aim of intervention, study methods
2 AbstractSeparated from title; elaborates on abstract format
IntroductionFocuses on the rationale of your study
3 Background knowledgeAsks for characteristics of organisations in which the problem occurs
4 Local problemNo change
5 Intended improvementMore specific about improvement aim, plus what triggered the decision to make changes
6 Study questionDistinguishes the study question from the aim of the improvement
MethodsFocuses on what you did
7 Ethical issuesAdded item: addresses concrete ethical issues rather than administrative ethics review
8 SettingHighlights context features relevant to why an intervention succeeds
9 Planning the interventionRequests specifics on intervention components, factors in choice of the intervention, initial plans for implementation
10 Planning the study of the interventionAdded item: separates study of the interventions from the improvement methods themselves; requests specifics on intervention dose and mechanism, study design, issues of internal and external validity
11 Methods of evaluationRequests specifics on qualitative and quantitative methods; implementation effectiveness, mechanism, primary and secondary outcomes; data quality
12 AnalysisRequests specifics on qualitative and quantitative approaches; appropriateness of the unit of analysis; power
ResultsFocuses on what you found
13 OutcomesIncludes characteristics of setting relevant to intervention mechanism; requests specifics on success of implementation, strength of association between intervention and outcomes, missing data
DiscussionFocuses on what your findings mean
14 SummaryHighlights the study’s strengths
15 Relation to other evidenceSuggests use of summary table of available published evidence
16 LimitationsRequests specifics on maintenance of improvement and on challenges to internal and external validity
17 InterpretationExpands on the differences between observed and expected results; strength of the data; influence of context factors; modifications that might increase the intervention’s effectiveness; opportunity and actual financial costs
18 ConclusionsNo change
Other informationFocuses on factors external to the study itself that could affect findings and conclusions
19 FundingRequests specifics on funding sources and role of funders in conduct of the study