Authors’ conclusions

[fixed, level 1 heading]

The primary purpose of the review should be to present information, rather than to offer advice. Conclusions of the authors are divided into two sections:

 

Implications for practice

[fixed, level 2 heading]

The implications for practice should be as practical and unambiguous as possible. They should not go beyond the evidence that was reviewed and be justifiable by the data presented in the review. ‘No evidence of effect’ should not be confused with ‘evidence of no effect’.

 

Implications for research

[fixed, level 2 heading]

This section of Cochrane reviews is used increasingly often by people making decisions about future research, and authors should try to write something that will be useful for this purpose. As with the ‘Implications for practice’, the content should be based on the available evidence and should avoid the use of information that was not included or discussed within the review.

 

In preparing this section, authors should consider the different aspects of research, perhaps using types of study, participant, intervention and outcome as a framework. Implications for how research might be done and reported should be distinguished from what future research should be done. For example, the need for randomized trials rather than other types of study, for better descriptions of studies in the particular topic of the review, or for the routine collection of specific outcomes should be distinguished from the lack of a continuing need for a comparison with placebo if there is an effective and appropriate active treatment, or for the need for comparisons of specific named interventions, or for research in specific types of people.

 

It is important that this section is as clear and explicit as possible. General statements that contain little or no specific information, such as “Future research should be better conducted” or “More research is needed” are of little use to people making decisions, and should be avoided.

See also