Towards consistent geographic reporting of Australian health research

Vincent L Versace, Hannah Beks and James Charles
Med J Aust 2021; 215 (11): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.51344
Published online: 13 December 2021

To the Editor: As systematic reviews in the health literature increase,1 there is an emerging theme of reporting the geographic location of included studies.2,3,4,5,6,7 Approaches to classifying the geographic location of studies have varied. In the cases of Jennings and colleagues5 and Beks and colleagues,6 the authors captured information on study location and then assigned a geographic category. Jennings and colleagues5 followed the classification used by Eades and colleagues8 and combined RA1 and RA2 (originally based on the Australian Statistical Geographical Classification – Remoteness Area)9 to form an urban category. Although these two categories are both urban areas, the Remoteness Areas (RA) imply varying access to services. Beks et al6 opted to report on all five Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS‐RA) categories. Acknowledging the different research questions — the commonality being a better understanding of Aboriginal health activity — Jennings et al5 concluded that urban areas (reported as a combination of RA1‐Major Cities of Australia and RA2‐Inner Regional Australia) were under‐represented, whereas Beks et al6 concluded that RA2‐Inner Regional Australia, RA3‐Outer Regional Australia and RA4‐Remote Australia were under‐represented.

  • Vincent L Versace1
  • Hannah Beks1
  • James Charles2

  • 1 Deakin Rural Health, Deakin University, Warrnambool, VIC
  • 2 First Peoples Health Unit, Griffith University, Gold Coast, QLD

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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