|This project's final research report is expected to be available by April 2019.|
Peer review of PCORI-funded research helps make sure the report presents complete, balanced, and useful information about the research. It also assesses how the project addressed PCORI’s Methodology Standards. During peer review, experts read a draft report of the research and provide comments about the report. These experts may include a scientist focused on the research topic, a specialist in research methods, a patient or caregiver, and a healthcare professional. These reviewers cannot have conflicts of interest with the study.
The peer reviewers point out where the draft report may need revision. For example, they may suggest ways to improve descriptions of the conduct of the study or to clarify the connection between results and conclusions. Sometimes, awardees revise their draft reports twice or more to address all of the reviewers’ comments.
Peer review identified the following strengths and limitations in the report:
- The reviewers found the report well written and the study timely.
- The reviewers asked whether legislative changes about mandatory reporting of child abuse might have affected the outcomes of the study. The researchers explained that the legislative changes mostly expanded the list of people required to report a suspicion of child abuse. The researchers also explained that the legislative changes occurred several months before they collected most of the study data. The researchers said that these legislative changes probably did not affect data collection and outcomes.
- The reviewers said that measures of the system’s accuracy for triggering referral of a child for suspected abuse were undoubtedly inaccurate because of selection bias in referring children for a definitive evaluation for abuse. The researchers acknowledged this limitation in the report but stated that they used accuracy measurement terms that were consistent with those in their published article about this research.
- The reviewers asked whether the researchers could have used reports from child protective services (CPS) as a standard against which to measure false-positive and false-negative rates of the trigger system. The researchers contended that CPS criteria for child abuse cases vary by county and jurisdiction. The county in which the main study took place has one of the lowest rates of child abuse referrals in the country. Therefore, using CPS system criteria to make decisions about whether cases are child abuse would probably lead to an overestimate of false negatives in the study’s county. In another county with less-conservative CPS criteria but with the same triggers, using the criteria might lead to fewer false negatives.
Conflict of Interest Disclosures
View the COI disclosure form.