Cochrane’s Plain Language Summary Project - please help us user test a new Plain language summary template

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Deadline extended--please test our template and provide feedback by the end of 2021!

Making Cochrane evidence accessible and usable is a key aim of delivering Cochrane’s organizational mission, so communicating Cochrane evidence in plain language is becoming ever more important. It is also part of Cochrane’s mission to ensure that our evidence is easily translatable and accessible for readers from different linguistic backgrounds. Plain language summaries (PLSs) of Cochrane Reviews are included in every Cochrane Review, and form the basis of dissemination products, such as press releases and infographics.

The Plain Language Summary Project, which began in May 2020 to see whether a team of professional writers could improve the quality, consistency, and translatability of Cochrane PLSs, has now ended. The project was undertaken with the support of Central Executive Team staff and a number of Cochrane Review Groups (CRGs), and support from our language translation teams and Cochrane Consumers. The full evaluation report is available here and outlines: 
•    how the project was undertaken;
•    the experiences and learnings from writing PLSs – what worked well and the challenges;
•    a full evaluation, the conclusions reached; and
•    a standard Guidance document for the future of writing Cochrane PLSs.

We now need your help. The project has produced a template for writing Cochrane Plain language summaries. We would like as many people as possible to test it and tell us what they think about it.

We will amend it based on your feedback. So, if you have a Plain language summary to write for a review between now and the end of 2021, please help us by using the template to write your summary. Or please pass this on to anyone you know who writes Plain language summaries.

test PLS template by end of 2021

What do you need to do?

  1. Download the template and the Guidance document
  2. Write your Plain language summary in the template, following the instructions. 

    Note: this is still a test version so links to the guidance in the template are not currently active. However, you can navigate to specific sections of the guidance using the table of contents in the guidance.
  3. Download and complete the questionnaire
  4. Send to 
    1. the completed questionnaire and 
    2. your finished/draft Plain language summary
  5. Please send comments by the end of December 2021.

Thank you! We look forward to sharing the results and next steps for writing Plain Language Summaries with our Cochrane Community in the coming months. 

15 October 2021