Cochrane Methods Symposium: Developing robust review protocols with increasingly diverse evidence


Wednesday 5 February 2020 (sign-up details below)


Interactive webinar

We are pleased to announce the re-schedule of the 2019 Methods Symposium, which was postponed due to the cancelled 2019 Cochrane Colloquium. 

Co-chairs: Professor Julian Higgins and Dr Joanne McKenzie

Cochrane Reviews are becoming increasingly complex as methods evolve, as data sources become more diverse, and as we increasingly recognize that health outcomes are the products of many interlinked elements. Cochrane pioneered the publication of protocols before undertaking systematic reviews, partly to help ensure that the many decisions we make along the way are objective and not based on the results of the identified studies.

This year’s Methods Symposium will examine whether our protocols continue to provide the road map we need to navigate a modern Cochrane Review. We will explore how much can reasonably be anticipated about the decisions we need to make. Speakers will address several aspects of pre-specification from diverse methodological perspectives, showcasing updated material in the new Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions (Version 6). Issues for discussion include deciding what syntheses are to be performed, deciding which data to extract and analyse, and dealing with issues of complexity in interventions and study contexts. We will discuss the extent to which issues can be overcome with careful review planning, and aim to determine whether refinements are needed in our current guidance for writing protocols. 

The Symposium is intended for the wider Cochrane community. The session will be particularly useful for Cochrane Review Group editors, methodologists and others involved in review production, as well as those who are interested in understanding considerations for developing robust Cochrane Review protocols with increasingly diverse evidence. 

Below is the finalised agenda and speakers, with links to speaker biographies.

19:00 (GMT)

Welcome to the 2019 Methods Symposium

Julian Higgins, University of Bristol, UK (Senior Handbook Editor)

Session 1

Chair: Julian Higgins, University of Bristol, UK (Senior Handbook Editor) 


General issues in pre-specification 

James Thomas, EPPI-Centre, University College London, UK

The notion of PICO for synthesis: planning the grouping of studies for meta-analyses and other syntheses

Sue Brennan, Monash University, Australia

The role of network meta-analysis

Tianjing Li, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA; Department of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine, University of Colorado Denver, USA

Issues to consider when including qualitative evidence

Angela Harden, University of East London, UK 

Questions and discussion

Julian Higgins, University of Bristol, UK (Senior Handbook Editor), and Joanne McKenzie, Monash University, Australia 

Session 2

Chair: Joanne McKenzie, Monash University, Australia


The problem of multiplicity and the use of hierarchical selection rules

Matthew Page, Monash University, Australia


Issues for adverse effects

Daniela Junqueira, University of Alberta, Canada

Issues in reviews of test accuracy

Yemisi Takwoingi, University of Birmingham, UK

Questions and discussion

Joanne McKenzie, Monash University, Australia, and Julian Higgins, University of Bristol, UK (Senior Handbook Editor) 



Wednesday, 5 February 2020, 19:00-21:00 UTC [check the time in your time zone] SIGN UP HERE

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