This guide provides an outline of the databases and content contained within the Cochrane Library, and offers guidance on how to effectively search the Cochrane Library for the information you need.
The guide also demonstrates how to save and manage your searches and search results
The CDSR includes all Cochrane Reviews (and protocols) prepared by Cochrane Review Groups. Each Cochrane Review is a systematic review that has been prepared and supervised by a Cochrane Review Group (editorial team). It attempts to identify, appraise and synthesise all of the 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 minimising bias, to produce more reliable findings to inform decision-making. Cochrane Reviews are updated to reflect the findings of new evidence when it becomes available because the results of new studies can change the conclusions of a review. Cochrane Reviews are therefore valuable sources of information for those receiving and providing care, as well as for decision-makers and researchers.
The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) is a highly concentrated source of reports of randomised and quasi-randomised controlled trials. Most CENTRAL records are taken from bibliographic databases (mainly PubMed and Embase), but records are also derived from other published and unpublished sources, including CINAHL, ClinicalTrials.gov and the WHO's International Clinical Trials Registry Platform. CENTRAL first began publication in 1996, but its composite nature means that it does not have an inception (start) date, in the way that other traditional biomedical databases do. For more information, see How CENTRAL is created.
Cochrane Clinical Answers (CCAs) provide an easily readable, digestible, clinically focused entry point to rigorous research from Cochrane Reviews. Each CCA contains a clinical question, a short answer, and data for the outcomes from the Cochrane Reviews deemed most relevant to practicing healthcare professionals. The evidence is displayed in a user-friendly tabulated format that includes narratives, data, and links to graphics.
Special Collections within the Cochrane Library bring together Cochrane Reviews and Cochrane Clinical Answers on a specific topic.
Systematic reviews from McMaster's Health Forum's repositories: Health Systems Evidence and Social Systems Evidence, are also discoverable within the Cochrane Library, when using the Search box on the home page.