Researchers from the U.K. and U.S. discussed the appropriate application of terms commonly used to describe radiological research studies in an article published online on 21 February in European Radiology.
The group, led by Prof. Steve Halligan from University College London, searched the titles of all original radiological research articles published in European Radiology between 2015 and 2019. In all, 269 articles included "study" in the title and just 34 articles had "trial" in the title.
Halligan and colleagues found that radiological researchers occasionally used titles that described their research incorrectly. In response, they clarified in their article similar terms such as randomized controlled trial versus diagnostic test accuracy, feasibility versus pilot study, and observational versus analytical study.
Inaccurate use of terminology can mislead the reader as to the type of research conducted, and the authors emphasized how important it is for researchers to adopt correct descriptors for their work.
"It has been suggested that radiological research is methodologically weaker than other medical disciplines," they wrote. "We hope that our brief review helps alleviate this via a clearer understanding of different study descriptions and their specific implications."