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Table 3 RELEVANT quality domains: primary sub-items (critical to satisfy minimum guideline requirements) and secondary sub-items (enabling further descriptive appraisal)

From: The REal Life EVidence AssessmeNt Tool (RELEVANT): development of a novel quality assurance asset to rate observational comparative effectiveness research studies

Quality domains and sub-itemsFulfilled
Primary sub-items
1. Background1.1. Clearly stated research question 
2. Design2.1. Population defined 
2.2. Comparison groups defined and justified 
3. Measures3.1. (If relevant), exposure (e.g. treatment) is clearly defined 
3.2. Primary outcomes defined 
4. Analysis4.1. Potential confounders are addressed 
4.2. Study groups are compared at baseline 
5. Results5.1. Results are clearly presented for all primary and secondary endpoints as well as confounders 
6. Discussion/interpretation6.1. Results consistent with known information or if not, an explanation is provided 
6.2. The clinical relevance of the results is discussed 
7. Conflict of interests7.1. Potential conflicts of interest, including study funding, are stated 
Secondary sub-items
1. Background1.1. The research is based on a review of the background literature (ideal standard is a systematic review) 
2. Design2.1. Evidence of a priori design, e.g. protocol registration in a dedicated website 
2.2. Population justified 
2.3. The data source (or database), as described, contains adequate exposures (if relevant) and outcome variables to answer the research question 
2.4. Setting justified 
3. Measures3.1 Sample size/Power pre-specified 
4. AnalysisNo secondary itemNA
5. Results5.1. Flow chart explaining all exclusions and individuals screened or selected at each stage of defining the final sample 
5.2. The authors describe the statistical uncertainty of their findings (e.g. p values, confidence intervals) 
5.3. The extent of missing data is reported 
6. Discussion/interpretation6.1. Possible biases and/or confounding factors described 
7. Conflict of interestsNo secondary itemNA