Editors: Julian PT Higgins and Sally Green.
Cochrane reviews have a highly structured format, and compliance with this format is facilitated by the use of RevMan. This chapter describes what an author is expected to include, and what a reader may expect to find, in each component of a Cochrane protocol or review.
The chapter also serves as a guide to much of the Handbook, containing links to other chapters where further discussion of the methodological issues can be found.
A ‘Review information’ (or ‘Protocol information’) section includes details of authors and important dates associated with maintaining and updating the review.
The main text should be succinct and readable, so that someone who is not an expert in the area can understand it. The text of a protocol ends after the Methods section.
A ‘Studies and references’ section provides a framework for classifying included, excluded and ongoing studies, as well as those for which insufficient information is available, and other references.
Tables of characteristics of studies allow the systematic presentation of key descriptors of the studies considered for the review.
A ‘Data and analyses’ section has a hierarchical structure, allowing data from included studies to be placed within particular subgroups of studies, which are in turn within meta-analyses of particular outcomes, which are in turn within particular intervention comparisons. For each meta-analysis, forest plots and funnel plots can be generated within RevMan.
Further tables, figures and appendices can be included to supplement the in-built tables.
4.2 Title and review information (or protocol information)
4.4 Plain language summary
4.5 Main text
4.7 Studies and references
4.8 Data and analyses
4.10 Sources of support to the review
4.13 Chapter information