Updated method guidelines for cochrane musculoskeletal group systematic reviews and metaanalyses

J Rheumatol. 2014 Feb;41(2):194-205. doi: 10.3899/jrheum.121306. Epub 2013 Dec 1.


The Cochrane Musculoskeletal Group (CMSG), one of 53 groups of the not-for-profit, international Cochrane Collaboration, prepares, maintains, and disseminates systematic reviews of treatments for musculoskeletal diseases. It is important that authors conducting CMSG reviews and the readers of our reviews be aware of and use updated, state-of-the-art systematic review methodology. One hundred sixty reviews have been published. Previous method guidelines for systematic reviews of interventions in the musculoskeletal field published in 2006 have been substantially updated to incorporate methodological advances that are mandatory or highly desirable in Cochrane reviews and knowledge translation advances. The methodological advances include new guidance on searching, new risk-of-bias assessment, grading the quality of the evidence, the new Summary of Findings table, and comparative effectiveness using network metaanalysis. Method guidelines specific to musculoskeletal disorders are provided by CMSG editors for various aspects of undertaking a systematic review. These method guidelines will help improve the quality of reporting and ensure high standards of conduct as well as consistency across CMSG reviews.


Publication types

  • Guideline
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases*
  • Publishing
  • Review Literature as Topic*