Wednesday, July 22, 2020

What are Cochrane Reviews and Why are they beneficial?

We all know about journal articles, so what are Cochrane reviews? 

And why should I care about using them for evidence-based practice research?

A Cochrane review is a systematic review that has been prepared and supervised by Cochrane’s in-house editorial review team. 

“It attempts to identify, appraise and synthesize all the empirical evidence that meets pre-specified eligibility criteria to answer a specific research question. Researchers conducting systematic reviews use explicit, systematic methods that are selected with a view aimed at minimizing bias, to produce more reliable findings to inform decision-making.” (1)  

In layman's terms, the experts at Cochrane conduct research on a topic or question, gather the evidence, sift through it for biased results and then report their findings in one document. 

I call these reviews “little nuggets of gold” because instead of you doing hours of research and trying to find all the articles, reviews, clinical trials and other materials that have been published on your topic or question, Cochrane experts have done it for you.

As an example, if the Cochrane review is published in 2016, then you don’t have to do research through sometime in 2016. You can rely on the Cochrane review to cover the available materials for this time period. You only need to find updates to your topic or question since 2016. This saves you a lot of time and provides you with reliable evidence based information. Another benefit is that these reviews have been analyzed for biases and reports that information in the results. 

Although Cochrane reviews are gold nuggets of best evidence, you won't find them on every topic.  The database has thousands of reviews but not every detailed question is answered within it.  That's when you may have to dig deeper into our other databases like PubMed or Cinahl.

So the next time you need to do evidence-based research, try searching for a Cochrane Review - the gold nugget.  

You will find Cochrane links on multiple The Ascension Wisconsin Library Services intranet pages such as 

Cochrane Library - Evidence Based Reviews [Direct link]]

Cochrane Search Tips

  1. “Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.” Cochrane Library, John Wiley & Son’s,

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