Background

Cochrane Training resource: writing a protocol

Cochrane Interactive Learning: module 2 - writing the review protocol

  Standard Rationale and elaboration Resources
R19 Background Mandatory  
  Provide a concise description of the condition or problem addressed by the review question, definition of the intervention and how it might work, and why it is important to do the review.  Systematic reviews should have a clearly defined and well-reasoned rationale that has been developed in the context of existing knowledge. Outlining the context of the review question is useful to readers and helps to establish key uncertainties that the review intends to address  
R20 Background headings Highly desirable  
  Include the four standard RevMan headings when writing the Background. Four standard headings are included in RevMan (‘Description of the condition’, ‘Description of the intervention’, ‘How the intervention might work’, and ‘Why it is important to do this review’). See Handbook 4.5
R21 Background references Mandatory  
  Back up all key supporting statements with references. Claims or statements regarding aspects such as disease burden, morbidity, prevalence and mechanisms of action should be substantiated and, where available, supported by external evidence.  
R22 Main objective Mandatory  
  State the main objective, where appropriate in a single concise sentence.

The primary objective of a Cochrane Review should be to assess the effects of one or more healthcare interventions on user-important outcomes, both intended and unintended. The objective should be expressed in terms that relate to the population(s), intervention comparison(s) and, where appropriate, to specify the outcomes of interest explicitly.  Review users may be patients, carers, policy makers, clinicians, practitioners or others.

MECIR conduct standard 2: Define in advance the objectives of the review, including participants, interventions, comparators and outcomes.

Where possible, the format should be of the form “To assess the effects of [intervention or comparison] for [health problem] for/in [types of people, disease or problem and setting if specified]”.

 
R23 Secondary objectives Highly desirable  
  State explicitly (as secondary objectives) any specific questions being addressed by the review, such as those relating to particular participant groups, intervention comparisons or outcomes.

The objectives should be expressed in terms that relate to the population(s), intervention comparison(s) and, where appropriate, outcomes of interest.

MECIR conduct standard 4: Consider in advance whether issues of equity and relevance of evidence to specific populations are important to the review, and plan for appropriate methods to address them if they are. Attention should be paid to the relevance of the review question to populations such as low-socioeconomic groups, low- or middle-income regions, women, children and older people.

 
R24 Economic evidence Mandatory  
  If health economics evidence is being reviewed, state this explicitly in the Objectives (as a secondary objective).

The primary aim of a Cochrane Review should be to assess the effects of one or more healthcare interventions on user-important outcomes, both intended and unintended. These outcomes may include economic outcomes. If health economics evidence is being reviewed as an integrated economics component, this should be stated as a secondary objective.

See Handbook 15.2.3

CIL: module 9 - introduction to health economics

R25 Qualitative research evidence Mandatory  
  If qualitative research evidence is being reviewed, state this explicitly in the Objectives (as a secondary objective).

The primary aim of a Cochrane Review should be to assess the effects of one or more healthcare interventions on user-important outcomes, both intended and unintended. If qualitative research evidence is being included to ‘extend’ the review, this should be stated as a secondary objective.

See Handbook 20.2.1

 

Section info
Change date
27 June 2016