Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions

This is an archived version. For the current version, please go to

Version 6.1, 2020

Senior Editors: Julian Higgins1, James Thomas2
Associate Editors: Jacqueline Chandler3, Miranda Cumpston4,5, Tianjing Li6, Matthew Page4, Vivian Welch7

Part 1: About Cochrane Reviews

I.     Introduction
II.    Planning a Cochrane Review
III.   Reporting the review
IV.   Updating the review
V.    Overviews of Reviews


Part 2: Core methods

1.    Starting a review
2.    Determining the scope and questions
3.    Inclusion criteria & grouping for synthesis
4.    Searching & selecting studies
5.    Collecting data
6.    Effect measures
7.    Bias and conflicts of interest
8.    Risk of bias in randomized trials
9.    Preparing for synthesis
10.  Meta-analyses
11.  Network meta-analyses
12.  Synthesis using other methods
13.  Bias due to missing results
14.  ‘Summary of findings’ tables & GRADE
15.  Interpreting results

Part 3: Specific perspectives in reviews

16.  Equity
17.  Intervention complexity
18.  Patient-reported outcomes
19.  Adverse effects
20.  Economic evidence
21.  Qualitative evidence


Part 4: Other topics

22.  Prospective approaches
23.  Variants on randomized trials
24.  Including non-randomized studies
25.  Risk of bias in non-randomized studies
26.  Individual participant data

*Please share your feedback* When you have used the new Handbook, please tell us what you think in this brief feedback form. We’re always looking at ways to improve usability and your feedback helps us keep improving the online Handbook for our users.


1 University of Bristol, UK
2 EPPI-Centre, UCL Social Research Institute, University College London, UK
3 Wessex Academic Health Science Network, UK 
4 School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Australia
5 Cochrane Public Health; School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle, Australia
6 Department of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine & Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus USA; Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA
7 The Campbell Collaboration; Bruyère Research Institute, Ottawa, Canada; School of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Ottawa, Canada. 

Information on how to cite this handbook is available here.

For any queries on the Handbook, contact