Criteria for considering reviews for inclusion

The Overview research question should guide selection of reviews for inclusion, including a clear description of the participants (condition or health problem), the interventions, comparison groups and outcomes of interest. In general, Overviews should include all Cochrane reviews that address one or more of the interventions available for the condition or health problem that is the topic of the Overview. However, in some cases the authors of the Overview may wish to restrict this focus in some way. For example, Overview authors may wish to restrict their scope to certain types of interventions (e.g. all drug therapies, excluding non-drug therapies). Restrictions would be particularly appropriate if the existing Cochrane reviews address varied clinical populations

(e.g. groups that differ by age, ethnicity, sex, stage of disease or types of co-morbidity). In making decisions to lump or split, it will be helpful to keep in mind the perspective of the decision maker reading the overview and to focus on the information that would be required to make an individual decision. For example, Cochrane Intervention reviews addressing prevention of a given condition should probably not be grouped in a single Overview with Intervention reviews addressing treatment of the same condition - since prevention decisions and treatment decisions are made for different populations. If such considerations are involved in the selection of reviews for inclusion in the Overview, they should be clearly spelled out in this section.

If non-Cochrane systematic reviews are included, this section should specify the criteria that will be used to determine whether non-Cochrane reviews are systematic reviews, and the criteria that will be used to determine which systematic reviews will be included when there are two or more reviews that address the same question.

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