What is the difference between a protocol and a review?

A protocol is a plan or set of steps to be followed in a study. A protocol for a systematic review should describe the rationale for the review; the objectives; and the methods that will be used to locate, select and critically appraise studies, and to collect and analyse data from the included studies. (Definition taken from the Glossary to the Cochrane Reviewers' Handbook.)

A review of a clearly formulated question that uses systematic and explicit methods to identify, select and critically appraise relevant research, and to collect and analyse data from the studies that are included in the review. Statistical methods (meta-analysis) may or may not be used to analyse and summarise the results of the included studies. A Cochrane Review is a systematic, up-to-date summary of reliable evidence of the benefits and risks of health care. Cochrane Reviews are intended to help people make practical decisions. For a review to be called a "Cochrane Review" it must be in the Parent Database maintained by The Cochrane Collaboration. The Parent Database is composed of modules of reviews submitted by Collaborative Review Groups (CRG's) registered with The Cochrane Collaboration. The reviews contributed to one of the modules making up the Parent Database are refereed by the editorial team of the CRG, as described in the CRG module. Reviewers adhere to guidelines published in the Cochrane Handbook. The specific methods used in a Review are described in the text of the review. Cochrane Reviews are prepared using Review Manager software provided by the Collaboration and adhere to a structured format that is described in The Cochrane Reviewers' Handbook. (Definition taken from the Glossary to the Cochrane Reviewers' Handbook.)

Updated on: February 19, 2010, 14:33

Comments for improvement or correction are welcome.
Email: web@cochrane.org