A review of research papers in the Tropical Journals of Obstetrics & Gynaecology: (1998-2007))
Context: Promotion of relevant research in reproductive health and dissemination of research findings are the principal goals of the Tropical Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology (TJOG), the official publication of the Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria (SOGON). The ultimate objective of research is to influence practice by employing appropriate study design to answer research questions.
Objective: To evaluate the pattern of study designs and range of scientific research in TJOG between 1998 – 2007.
Method: The Methods section of all articles published during the study period were reviewed to document the type of study design and research focus. Articles were classified as Commentary/Review, Case Report,
Crosssectional Study, Case-Control Study, Cohort Study, Randomised Controlled Trial and Systematic Review as appropriate.
Results: Eleven issues from nine volumes comprising of 918 papers were examined. There were 55 commentaries and 4 review articles. There were 95 case reports constituting 10.3% of the 859 research papers. Cross-sectional studies formed the largest category of publications, accounting for 82.5%. Case-control studies (37 - 4.3%), cohort studies (3 - 0.4%) and randomized controlled trials (15 - 1.8%) constituted the rest. There was no systematic review. Maternal and perinatal medicine was the commonest area of research (46.4%). Publications in other subspecialties
Conclusion: Most of the research publications were descriptive; experimental research designs were few. Urgent steps are needed to promote diversity in research designs and coverage of all aspects of reproductive health. Concrete actions to increase research activities and improve quality of scientific writing in Nigeria and other tropical countries are urgent imperatives.
Keywords: Study design; sub-specialisation; tropical; sub-Saharan Africa