Since its publication in 2008, SQUIRE (Standards for Quality Improvement Reporting Excellence) has contributed to the completeness and transparency of reporting of quality improvement work, providing guidance to authors and reviewers of reports on healthcare improvement work. In the interim, enormous growth has occurred in understanding factors that influence the success, and failure, of healthcare improvement efforts. Progress has been particularly strong in three areas: the understanding of the theoretical basis for improvement work; the impact of contextual factors on outcomes; and the development of methodologies for studying improvement work. Consequently, there is now a need to revise the original publication guidelines. To reflect the breadth of knowledge and experience in the field, we solicited input from a wide variety of authors, editors and improvement professionals during the guideline revision process. This Explanation and Elaboration document (E&E) is a companion to the revised SQUIRE guidelines, SQUIRE 2.0. The product of collaboration by an international and interprofessional group of authors, this document provides examples from the published literature, and an explanation of how each reflects the intent of a specific item in SQUIRE. The purpose of the guidelines is to assist authors in writing clearly, precisely and completely about systematic efforts to improve the quality, safety and value of healthcare services. Authors can explore the SQUIRE statement, this E&E and related documents in detail at http://www.squire-statement.org.