Guide to writing Cochrane abstracts

Cochrane UK has produced a guide to producing clear abstracts for high-quality systematic reviews that are easy to read, understand and translate. We welcome your feedback below. 

Click on the image below to download the guide
Cochrane UK  Guide to writing abstracts for systematic reviews

Martin Burton, Director of Cochrane UK: "In 2021 my colleagues Lynda Ware, Robert Walton and I produced a report for the Editor-in-Chief of the Cochrane Library.  

We have produced an outline guide for Cochrane authors, with templates and examples, setting out how we felt it might be best to write an abstract for the simplest and commonest type of reviews. 

We have stuck to some simple, clear principles which we set out in the Introduction. These relate to the over-arching commitment to try and make every Cochrane abstract as easy to read, understand and translate, as every other abstract.  We also hope that those who read many Cochrane abstracts will quickly learn where to find specific pieces of information, and – when they do so – will find it in a familiar format.

We completed the report early in 2021 and it has now been reviewed and accepted by the Editorial Board. We have been encouraged to publish a slightly modified version of the report as a guide to those who are writing abstracts of high-quality systematic reviews.

We are interested in your feedback. If you use the guide, and find it useful or not, please feel free to add your comments below. We will try to respond to them".  

Read 'Cochrane abstracts: a guide to style and content' (pdf)

In line with the recommendations of Cochrane's Dissemination Checklist, the guide recommends that authors use narrative plain language statements to present review findings. You can view the suggested phrases on page 54 of Cochrane's Dissemination Checklist.

Do you have a question or comment? If so, please get in touch by completing the form below.