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8.5.2  The support for judgement

The support for judgement provides a succinct summary from which judgements of risk of bias can be made, and aims to ensure transparency in how these judgements are reached. For a specific study, information for the support for judgement will often come from a single published study report, but may be obtained from a mixture of study reports, protocols, published comments on the study and contacts with the investigators. Where appropriate, the support for judgement should include verbatim quotes from reports or correspondence. Alternatively, or in addition, it may include a summary of known facts, or a comment from the review authors. In particular, it should include other information that influences any judgements made (such as knowledge of other studies performed by the same investigators). A helpful construction to supplement an ambiguous quote is to state ‘Probably done’ or ‘Probably not done’, providing the rationale for such assertions. When no information is available from which to make a judgement, this should be stated explicitly. Examples of proposed formatting for the description are provided in Table 8.5.c.