Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions

The Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions is the official document 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). It is available in various formats, as detailed below.

Browse the Handbook online at

En Español: Manual Cochrane de revisiones sistemáticas de intervenciones

Simplified Chinese: Cochrane 干预措施系统评价手册 中文翻译版

Please note the following important information about this version.

There is also a Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Diagnostic Test Accuracy.

Quick links

A summary of the changes in version 5.1.0 (March 2011) is available as a PDF. See these changes, as well as what was new in earlier versions, on the What's New page.

Available formats

Version 5.1.0 [updated March 2011] was uploaded in browsable format on March 21st 2011.  It should be cited as:

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.

  • Chapter 8 (Assessing risk of bias in included studies) was updated for Version 5.1.0, and is available in PDF format here.
  • The browsable Handbook (version 5.1.0) is also available from the help menu in Review Manager 5.1 (software for composing Cochrane Reviews).
  • Version 5.0.2 [updated September 2009] is available as a book: see below.
  • Printable (PDF) versions of all Handbook chapters (Version 5.1.0) are available to members of The Cochrane Collaboration via our Community site (Archie login required) in the  "Resources & databases" section. 
  • A full contents list for Version 5.1.0 is available via Archie, as is an index to the Version 5.0.1, which should correspond well with Version 5.1.0 (except for parts of Chapters 8 and 11).
  • Contrary to claims made elsewhere, a Farsi translation of the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions has NOT been approved or supervised by the Editors.

Updates and corrections to the Handbook

Updates and corrections to Version 5.1.0 that have not yet been implemented are listed here.

Book version of the Handbook

Cochrane Handbook of SRs of InterventionsThe Handbook was published as a hardback book by Wiley-Blackwell in September 2008, was reprinted with corrections in July 2009 and has been reprinted in an identical version several times since. The current book version corresponds to Version 5.0.2 of the Handbook.

The Cochrane Collaboration Glossary

Browse the Glossary of terms online

The Glossary was last formally updated in May 2005 (Version 4.2.5); and was updated informally during 2010.

The current formal version of the Glossary is also available as a PDF:

Supplementary material

The browsable Handbook includes Appendix A: Guide to the contents of a Cochrane Methodology protocol and review

The following supplementary material is available for download.

Chapter 9: Analysing data and undertaking meta-analyses
Chapter 11: Presenting results and 'Summary of findings' tables
Chapter 13: Non-randomized studies

Previous versions

Contact email addresses for the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions

Julian Higgins (Co-Editor)
School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol
and Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York

Rachel Churchill (Co-Editor)
Academic Unit of Psychiatry, School of Social and Community Medicine
University of Bristol

Miranda Cumpston (Co-Editor)
Training co-ordinator, The Cochrane Collaboration

Jackie Chandler (Co-Editor)
Methods co-ordinator, The Cochrane Collaboration

Sally Green stepped down as a Handbook editor in March 2012.

Updated on: April 17, 2015, 8:06