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Cochrane – effective tools to help find your way through the jungle of academic studies


Every year, a large number of studies are published in the fields of medicine and health. A study might deal with, for example, answering questions about how effective a treatment is. But to what extent can you rely on results of a study, and what happens if you compile and examine the quality of all studies within the same field? Cochrane works to provide answers to these questions. The purpose? That more people shall have access to knowledge-based care and thereby better health.

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Parts of the Cochrane-team: Martin Ringsten, Ingemar Petersson, Katarina Persson, Matteo Bruschettini. Photo: Anna Hellgren

One first step towards improving people’s health is for those who are being educated or work with care to know how to find reliable facts. Cochrane, a global network with a local office in Lund, has the tools and methods to “hit the target”, according to Martin Ringsten, project coordinator and researcher at Cochrane Sweden. Ringsten, who is also a doctoral student and teacher at the Faculty of Medicine, is working to reach out to researchers, students and clinicians in order to increase knowledge of how to use Cochrane in their research or in their work.

“Cochrane has a library containing more than 8,400 systematic overviews. For each overview, there is also a popular science summary so that even those who are not medically qualified in the subject or find it difficult to read scientific language can easily understand the content. We want to help more organisations and clinicians to find reliable research results that they in turn can rely on when caring for patients. But it can also be about helping researchers to systematically evaluate the body of knowledge about a treatment or to identify knowledge gaps where more research is needed.”

Sharpens the analytical skills of doctoral and other students

Cochrane also strives to teach people how to critically examine, compare and compile studies for students at the Faculty of Medicine.  The Cochrane method is now an integral part of the Medicine programme and the Master’s programme in Medical Science, but it is also available as an elective course at doctoral level.

What kind of activities do you have on the way this autumn for researchers, students and doctoral students?

“This autumn Cochrane Sweden, in collaboration with Cochrane’s centres in Denmark and Norway, has organised a webinar about instruments and the possibilities of evaluating and compiling observational studies and qualitative studies. In December, we’ll also be organising a webinar in collaboration with Cochrane Austria about the opportunities and challenges of carrying out knowledge overviews in areas where knowledge needs to be developed and evaluated particularly quickly. The course at doctoral level is fully subscribed, but new courses will be held next year.”

Article by: Anna Hellgren

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