Database Highlight: Cochrane Library

In this post we highlight the Cochrane Library, a collection of databases containing high quality health care information for researchers, health care professionals, patients, and funders.

Cochrane is known for its authoritative systematic reviews.  These attempt to “identify, appraise and synthesize all the empirical evidence that meets pre-specified eligibility criteria to answer a given research question.”  The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) includes intervention, diagnostic test accuracy, methodology, qualitative, and prognosis reviews.

Conducting research in the Cochrane Library is easy and intuitive.  Users may browse by Review Group or by topics ranging from Cancer to Public Health or simultaneously search across CDSR and the six other databases in the Cochrane Library (Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Methodology Register, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects, Health Technology Assessment Database, and About the Cochrane Collaboration Database) using a basic or advanced search interface.

Search results, which may be filtered by type, include systematic reviews, reports on randomized controlled trials, abstracts of quality-assessed systematic reviews, citations to studies of methods used in controlled trials, details of health technology assessments, and appraisals of economic evaluations from around the world.  Though scholarly, comprehensive, and authoritative, Cochrane reviews also contain plain language summaries for non-scientists.

Along with direct access to Reviews, Trials, and other Resources, the home page features Highlighted Reviews on assorted health care topics, Editorials, and Special Collections which combine selected reviews with additional sources to form overviews of important health care topics.  Some of these, such as “Resources for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Following Natural Disasters,” are created in collaboration with Evidence Aid to assist decision-makers responding to emergencies.

In addition on an online user reference guide, Cochrane Library offers free training webinars and self-paced tutorials that are available online any time.

Log in with your GC credentials to access the Cochrane Library, a valuable resource  for scientists, health care professionals, and general researchers.

About the Author

Donna Davey is an Adjunct Reference Librarian at the Graduate Center Library.