Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions

The Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions is the official guide that describes in detail the process of preparing and maintaining Cochrane systematic reviews on the effects of healthcare interventions. The current version of the Handbook is 5.1.0 (updated March 2011), edited by Julian Higgins and Sally Green.

All authors should consult the Handbook for guidance on the methods used in Cochrane systematic reviews. The Handbook includes guidance on the standard methods applicable to every review (planning a review, searching and selecting studies, data collection, risk of bias assessment, statistical analysis, GRADE and intepreting results), as well as more specialised topics (non-randomized studies, adverse effects, economics, patient-reported outcomes, individual patient data, prospective meta-analysis, qualitative research, reviews in public health and overviews of reviews).

Official translations of the Handbook are also available in Spanish and Simplified Chinese (see links above right).

Click here to browse the Handbook online

Further information is also available about the Handbook including supplementary material, information about what's new in each version, updates and corrections and more.

You can also access the Handbook in the following ways:

  • In RevMan: the Handbook can be accessed offline through the Help menu of Cochrane's review production software.
  • As a textbook: Version 5.0.2 of the Handbook was published in by Wiley-Blackwell in September 2008 and is still available for sale. Note that this is no longer the most current version of the Handbook, and readers should consult the What's New section for more information.

  • Printable (PDF) versions of all chapters (Version 5.1.0) are available to registered Cochrane contributors (Archie login required).

Glossary of Cochrane terms

Our Glossary includes definitions of methodological and organisational terms as used by Cochrane.

Contact the Editors

Julian Higgins (Co-Editor)
School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol

Rachel Churchill (Co-Editor)
University of York

Miranda Cumpston (Co-Editor)
Head of Learning & Support, Cochrane

Jackie Chandler (Co-Editor)
Methods Co-ordinator, Cochrane

How to cite the Handbook

Higgins JPT, Green S (editors). Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions Version 5.1.0 [updated March 2011]. The Cochrane Collaboration, 2011. Available from

Details of how to cite individual chapters are available at the end of each chapter.

Previous versions

Archived copies of the following previous versions of the Handbook are available:

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