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Using Cochrane Library

Trusted Evidence. Informed Decisions. Better Health.

What is the Cochrane Library?

The Cochrane Library provides access to a collection of databases that contain high-quality, independent evidence to inform health care decision-making. These databases include:

  • Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR)
  • Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL)
  • Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE - Other reviews)
  • NHS Economic Evaluation Database (EED)
  • Cochrane Methodology Register (CMR)
  • Health Technology Assessment Database (HTA)

The Cochrane Library provides access to various systematic reviews in Cochrane Reviews.

According to Churchill Livingstone's Dictionary of Nursing (2006), a systematic review is defined as "a systematic approach to literature reviews (published and unpublished material) that reduces random errors and bias".

Systematic review. (2006). Churchill Livingstone's Dictionary of Nursing. Retrieved from

Accessing the Cochrane Library

Navigating Cochrane Library Homepage

User Guides & Training Materials

Why use the Cochrane Library?

Cochrane Reviews represent the highest level on evidence on which to base clinical decisions. This evidence is gathered by bringing together the research which looks at the effectiveness of different health care treatments and interventions. Cochrane Reviews attempt to provide answers to the following questions:

  • How do you know if one health care treatment or intervention is any better than another?
  • Will the intervention do more good than harm?
  • How can health professionals and consumers make sense of all the research going on around the world?

The Cochrane Library provides information on diverse topics such as injury prevention for pedestrians and cyclists, St John’s wort for depression, programs to reduce juvenile delinquency, the prevention of jet lag, advice on low-fat diets for obesity, and prayer for the alleviation of ill health.

Terminology relevant to the Cochrane Library

Protocol - plan or set of steps to be followed in preparation of a study

Systematic Reviews - overviews in clinical medicine which were originally summaries of relevant randomized controlled trials (RCTs)

Meta-Analyses - systematic reviews which employ a quantitative method to summarize results