7.2.5  Selecting ‘excluded studies’

A Cochrane review includes a list of excluded studies, detailing any studies that a reader might plausibly expect to see among the included studies. This covers all studies that may on the surface appear to meet the eligibility criteria but on further inspection do not, and also those that do not meet all of the criteria but are well known and likely to be thought relevant by some readers. By listing such studies as excluded and giving the primary reason for exclusion, the review authors can show that consideration has been given to these studies. The list of excluded studies should be as brief as possible. It should not list all of the reports that were identified by a comprehensive search. It should not list studies that obviously do not fulfil the entry criteria for the review as listed under ‘Types of studies’, ‘Types of participants’, and ‘Types of interventions’, and in particular should not list studies that are obviously not randomized if the review includes only randomized trials.