The field of health care is continually changing. New research evidence is produced every day, providing us with valuable information about how to best treat various health conditions. This research is used by practitioners, health care policy-makers and patients. It is critically important that these individuals have access to up-to-date, high quality research to ensure that they are able to make evidence-informed health care decisions. However, it can be challenging to make sense of the vast amount of evidence generated regarding the effectiveness of any given health care intervention. As a result, researchers can carefully summarize all of this information into a concise document known as a systematic review. Systematic reviews take into account all the evidence on a particular treatment to determine if the treatment is effective. Thus, rather than searching through hundreds of research studies, a research user can consult a systematic review to effectively inform his or her health care decision.
The Cochrane Collaboration
The Cochrane Collaboration is an international non-profit organization dedicated to making up-to-date, accurate information about the effects of health care readily available worldwide. It produces and disseminates systematic reviews of health research. Established in 1993, The Cochrane Collaboration has over 20,000 research contributors in 90 countries throughout the world. The goal of The Cochrane Collaboration is to provide timely, high quality information to health care consumers and decision-makers. Cochrane reviews are considered the gold standard for determining the effectiveness of different health care interventions. No other organization dedicated to the production of systematic reviews produces as many reviews as The Cochrane Collaboration across such a wide range of health research topics and using such rigorous research methods.
Cochrane Review Authors
Cochrane review authors are a diverse group of health professionals from around the world. Uniting this group is a common passion for health research and a goal to make that research more easily accessible to practitioners, policy-makers and patients. If you are interested in getting involved in The Cochrane Collaboration as a review author, here are a few steps to start you on the process:
- Join a Cochrane Review Group that is relevant to your field of research. Cochrane Review Groups focus on a particular area of health research such as multiple sclerosis, or back pain. Joining a Review Group will allow you to network with researchers in the same field to find out which research questions have been answered and where future research needs to be directed.
- Start thinking about your research question. Do a search of The Cochrane Library to determine how your research questions may or may not have been addressed by other Cochrane review authors.
- Develop your research question. Begin to clarify your question. Make sure that it is specific, and think about key words that you might use to begin to search the literature relating to your topic.
- Sign up for a Basic Author Training Workshop. These workshops are designed to help you learn more about doing a Cochrane Review. Please see the Training link for more information on upcoming workshops.
- Contact us. Please feel free to contact us at any time throughout the process of beginning to undertake a Cochrane Review. We are here to provide support and to answer any questions you may have.
There is some funding available for conducting Cochrane Reviews. Please click here to learn more.