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World J Methodol. Dec 20, 2023; 13(5): 426-438
Published online Dec 20, 2023. doi: 10.5662/wjm.v13.i5.426
Synoptic review on existing and potential sources for bias in dental research methodology with methods on their prevention and remedies
Amit Arvind Agrawal, Nilima Prakash, Mohammad Almagbol, Mohammed Alobaid, Abdullah Alqarni, Hammam Altamni
Amit Arvind Agrawal, Department of Peridontology and Implantology, Mahatma Gandhi Vidyamandir’s Karmaveer Bhausaheb Hiray Dental College and Hospital, Nasik 422003, Maharashtra, India
Nilima Prakash, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Mahatma Gandhi Vidyamandir’s Karmaveer Bhausaheb Hiray Dental College and Hospital, Nashik 422003, Maharashtra, India
Mohammad Almagbol, Department of Periodontics Community Dental Sciences, King Khalid University, Abha 62217, Saudi Arabia
Mohammed Alobaid, Department of Restorative Dental Science and Dental Education, King Khalid University, Abha 62217, Saudi Arabia
Abdullah Alqarni, Department of Diagnostics Sciences and Oral Biology, King Khalid University, Abha 62217, Saudi Arabia
Hammam Altamni, Department of Orthodontic, Assir Specialist Dental Center, Abha, Ministry of Health, Abha 62217, Saudi Arabia
Author contributions: Agrawal AA designed the concept and structure of the article and made the flow chart; Prakash N, Almagbol M, and Alobaid M collected and organized the content under various headings and sub-headings; Alqarni A and Altamni H did the final editing, proof-reading, and finalization of the submission copy.
Conflict-of-interest statement: All the authors report no relevant conflicts of interest for this article.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: https://creativecommons.org/Licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Corresponding author: Amit Arvind Agrawal, MDS, MPhil, Doctor, Professor, Department of Peridontology and Implantology, Mahatma Gandhi Vidyamandir’s Karmaveer Bhausaheb Hiray Dental College and Hospital, Mumbai-Agra Road, Panchavati, Near Kannamwar Bridge, Nasik 422003, Maharashtra, India. agrodent@rediffmail.com
Received: October 17, 2023
Peer-review started: October 17, 2023
First decision: November 9, 2023
Revised: November 21, 2023
Accepted: December 11, 2023
Article in press: December 11, 2023
Published online: December 20, 2023
Abstract

The results of years of dental study serve as the foundation for the practise of medicine and, for that matter, dentistry. Doctors may have their own preferences for techniques and materials, but whether directly or indirectly, their decisions are influenced by systematic reviews and meta-analyses. However, due to poorly conducted or presented research, this very basic foundation may not be reliable. Bias in research is one of several factors that might make study results or research itself unreliable. Bias can be introduced into research at many stages, deliberately or unknowingly. Bias can appear at any point during the research process, even before the study itself begins. There are many biases in research, but some of them are more relevant to dentistry research than others. Because it is said that “eyes see what the mind knows”, it is essential to have a complete understanding of the different types of bias, how and when they get entrenched, and what steps may be taken to prevent or lessen them if they do occur. This comprehensive summary of bias in dentistry research is provided by this synoptic review. The goal is to identify gaps and measures that have been taken-or that should have been taken-by providing both descriptive and evaluative summaries, as well as examples from the literature, when needed.

Keywords: Dental research, Bias (epidemiology), Research methodology, Research design, Epidemiologic methods

Core Tip: Be it clinical or in-vitro, bias may arise at any point in the course of research. Always make efforts to minimise, if not completely eradicate, any potential bias that could show up in a study. However, how can a researcher take preventative or remedial actions if they are oblivious that bias is being introduced into their study? This article lists and summarises every potential bias that could arise during a study so that the researcher is aware of the possibilities and can take the necessary precautions to contribute reliable scientific data to the literature.