Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions

About the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions

**Update July 2019** Version 6 now available (see below)

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. 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 interpreting 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).


How to access Version 6 of the Handbook

We are pleased to announce that the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions, Version 6, has been completed. A second edition of the book version of the Handbook is now in press and will be published by Wiley in October 2019. All the chapters contained in the printed version will be freely available online in browsable form, and this online version will provide additional chapters and supplementary material mostly specific to the Cochrane context. The chapters from the Version 6 book are all now available as PDF chapters to registered Cochrane contributors (Archie login required).

The printed copy and publicly accessible web version will be available in October 2019.


How to access Version 5.1 of the Handbook

The most up-to-date version of the Handbook that is publicly available will continue to be Version 5.1 (updated March 2011) until October 2019.

Click here to browse Handbook version 5.1 online

Version 5.1 can be accessed offline through the Help menu of Cochrane's review production software, Review Manager (RevMan).

The original book version of the Handbook (published by Wiley-Blackwell in September 2008; ISBN 978-0-470-69951-5) corresponds to Version 5.0.2 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 about what has been updated.

Further information is also available about the Handbook including supplementary material, information about what's new in each version, updates and corrections and more. Details on how the Handbook has developed through the versions can be found on the What's new? page.


Methodological Expectations for Cochrane Intervention Reviews (MECIR)

Key aspects of Handbook guidance are collated as the Methodological Expectations for Cochrane Intervention Reviews (MECIR). These provide core standards that are generally expected of Cochrane reviews. Each MECIR item includes a link to a relevant Handbook chapter (currently based on the publicly-available Handbook Version 5.1).


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: methods@cochrane.org.

The Handbook editorial team includes: Julian Higgins and James Thomas (Senior Scientific Editors); Tianjing Li, Matthew Page and Vivian Welch (Associate Scientific Editors); Miranda Cumpston (Implementation Editor); Jackie Chandler (Managing Editor); and Laura Mellor (Editorial Assistant). The Handbook Editorial Team structure is available here [PDF].


How to cite the Handbook

Cochrane authors who wish to refer to Version 6 chapters should use the citations provided on the first page of each chapter.

To cite the full Handbook online (2011) version (Version 5.1), please use:

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 http://handbook.cochrane.org.

To cite the full original book version of the Handbook (2011), please use:

Higgins JPT, Green S (editors). Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. Chichester (UK): John Wiley & Sons, 2011.

Details of how to cite individual chapters in either of these versions are available in each chapter.


How to link to specific sections of the Cochrane Handbook (online 2011 version)

We have provided instructions on how to create hyperlinks to specific sections of the online (2011) version of the Handbook.


Permission to re-use material from the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions

Academic re-use of Handbook material
Requests for permission to re-use material from the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions only for academic purposes should be directed to Julian Higgins or James Thomas, the Senior Editors, via methods@cochrane.org. If approved, these will be granted free of charge on condition that the source is acknowledged.

Commercial re-use of Handbook material
Commercial re-use includes any use of the Handbook that will be used in a product for which there is a monetary fee, and/or where it is associated in any way with any product or service. For all enquiries related to the commercial re-use of Handbook material please contact Tony Aburrow, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Previous versions

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

Version 5.2: June 2017 [PDF - Archie login required]
Version 5.1: March 2011 [browsable]
Version 5.0.2: September 2009 [browsable]
Version 5.0.0: February 2008 [browsable]
Version 4.2.6: September 2006 [PDF] 2.8MB


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