Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions
Chapter 3: Reporting the review

To cite this draft chapter, please use:

Page MJ, Cumpston M, Chandler J, Lasserson T. Chapter III: Reporting the review. Draft version (2 November 2018) for inclusion in: Higgins JPT, Thomas J, Chandler J, Cumpston MS, Li T, Page MJ, Welch V (editors). Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. London: Cochrane.

Copyright © 2018 The Cochrane Collaboration. 


Key points

  • Clear reporting of a systematic review allows readers to evaluate the rigour of the methods applied, and to interpret the findings appropriately. Transparency can facilitate attempts to verify or reproduce the results, and make the review more usable for health care decision makers.
  • The target audience for Cochrane Reviews is people making decisions about health care, including healthcare professionals, consumers and policy makers. Cochrane Reviews should be written so that they are easy to read and understand by someone with a basic sense of the topic who may not necessarily be an expert in the area. 
  • Methodological Expectations of Cochrane Intervention Reviews (MECIR) are recommendations available to guide the conduct and reporting of new review protocols, new reviews, and updates of reviews of interventions. 
  • Guidance on the composition of plain language summaries of Cochrane Intervention Reviews is also available to help review authors specify the key messages in terms that are accessible to consumers and non-expert readers.
  • Review authors should ensure that reporting of objectives, important outcomes, results, caveats and conclusions is consistent across the main text, the abstract, and any other summary versions of the review (e.g. plain language summary).
Section info
Change date
13 March 2019