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2.2.1  Rationale for the format of a Cochrane review

All Cochrane reviews of interventions have the same format. Benefits of this uniform format include:

  1. helping readers find the results of research quickly and to assess the validity, applicability and implications of those results;

  2. guiding review authors to report their work explicitly and concisely, and minimizing the effort required to do this;

  3. facilitating electronic publication and maintenance of reviews; and

  4. enabling the development of derivative products (e.g. Overviews of reviews, see Chapter 22) and empirical research studies based on multiple systematic reviews.


The format is flexible enough to fit different types of reviews, including those making a single comparison, those making multiple comparisons and those prepared using individual patient data. Standard headings and tables embedded in RevMan guide review authors when preparing their report and make it easier for readers to identify information that is of particular interest to them. The headings within RevMan are listed in Sections 2.2.2 and 2.2.3. A detailed guide to the content that should follow each heading is provided in Chapter 4.