Cochrane Training resource: defining the review question and writing the protocol
Cochrane Interactive Learning: module 2 - writing the review protocol
|Standard||Rationale and elaboration||Resources|
|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 explicitly, the outcomes of interest (PICO). Review users may be patients, carers, policy makers, clinicians, practitioners or others.
The format should be: “To assess the effects of [intervention or comparison] for [health problem] for/in [types of people, disease or problem and setting if specified]”.
MECIR conduct standard 2: Define in advance the objectives of the review, including participants, interventions, comparators and outcomes (PICO).
|See Handbook Section III.3.2 and Section 2.3|
|PR6||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 outcome.||
The secondary objectives should be expressed in terms that relate to the population(s), intervention comparison(s) and, where appropriate, outcomes of interest.
The format might be: “To assess whether the effects of [intervention or comparison] differ according to [types of people, intervention or comparator characteristic, disease, problem, setting etc.]”.
Secondary objectives should be kept succinct, since they will be published in the front sheet of the review protocol on the Cochrane Library.
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.
|See Handbook Section III.3.2 and Section 2.4|
|If health economics evidence is to be 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 outcomes, both intended and unintended, that are important to review users. 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 Section 20.2.2|
|PR8||Qualitative research evidence||Mandatory|
|If qualitative research evidence is to be reviewed, state this explicitly in the Objectives (as a secondary objective).||
If qualitative research evidence is being included to ‘extend’ the review, this should be stated as a secondary objective.
|See Handbook Section 21.4|