Best practice guidelines for reporting spoken discourse in aphasia and neurogenic communication disorders

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Aphasiology, 2022
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Background: Spoken discourse is a fundamental form of communication, yet often disrupted in persons with aphasia and other neurogenic communication disorders. It follows that discourse analysis is important for understanding language, its impairments, and language recovery in these populations. Being a highly interdisciplinary field, discourse analysis would benefit from a set of guidelines (best practices) that help streamline reporting and discussion of discourse specific to populations with neurogenic communication disorders. This would enhance the overall quality of ongoing research by improving replicability, allowing meta-analysis, and supporting implementation in clinical practice. Aims: To establish clear reporting guidelines for studies that use spoken discourse analysis in aphasia. Methods & Procedures: An e-Delphi survey methodology was used. We identified aphasia and neurogenic communication disorder experts using Boolean search criteria and author consensus, then invited these individuals to participate in an online, three-round survey. The three rounds took place between November 2020 and June 2021. In each round, participants were asked to rank necessity of items on a scale of 1 (“not at all necessary”) to 5 (“extremely necessary”). Participants were instructed to rate based on whether the item was necessary to inform the creation of a minimum reporting guideline. Only participants who responded in the prior round were invited to participate in subsequent rounds. Items that met predetermined consensus criteria for ratings greater than “necessary” were brought forward to each subsequent round. New items were added to each round based on qualitative information collected from participants. Outcomes & Results: Items that were rated by ≥ 70% of the participants as “highly necessary” or “extremely necessary” in Round 3 were those deemed as “necessary” to be reported in research, whereas items rated < 70% in Round 3 were deemed as “recommended” to be reported in research. Following Round 3, 16 items were deemed “necessary” to report in research. A further five items were “recommended”. Conclusions: Consensus by leading researchers in the field established that 20 reporting items were “necessary” or “recommended” as the minimum information reported across all spoken discourse studies. These items included information about sampling, transcription, and analysis. Adherence to rigorously developed reporting guidelines is important for improving the overall quality and replicability of research in the field. We have archived the current recommendations on the Open Science Framework, which is where updates to the recommendations will also be located (
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