Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions

Handbook UPDATE April 2017

Substantive delays have occurred in the updating of the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions (2008, 2011) due to lack of Editor capacity. We have re-structured the team to increase capacity and provide further involvement and development opportunities. Julian Higgins, Rachel Churchill, Miranda Cumpston and Jackie Chandler welcome Senior Scientific Editor James Thomas and Associate Scientific Editors Toby Lasserson, Tianjing Li, Matthew Page and Vivian Welch.

The Handbook Editorial Team structure is available here [PDF].

We plan to launch Version 6 in mid to late 2018.

Click here to browse the Handbook online

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).

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

For further information and for any Handbook enquiries please contact: Jackie Chandler, Handbook Managing Editor,

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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