Summary of findings

'Summary of findings' tables

'Summary of findings' tables summarise the available evidence on the main outcomes in a review, and provide key information as regards the quality of the evidence and the magnitude of treatment effects. 

We require all reviews and updated reviews to include a 'Summary of findings' table. This means that all protocols must include methods that describe how these tables will be produced, and the types of information they will provide. We have developed a checklist to help authors plan for their 'Summary of findings' table, see here.

Creating your 'Summary of findings' table

You should begin to create your 'Summary of findings' table as soon as you have completed your meta-analysis or narrative review of the included studies. Creating your table early will help you to formulate your discussion and conclusions. 

For guidance on constructing your 'Summary of findings' table, please see Chapter 11 and Chapter 12 of the Cochrane Handbook. Please also see the GRADE Handbook. A series of short videos are also available, see here. Information on common issues in 'Summary of findings' tables and guidance on how to address them can be found here

You can create a 'Summary of findings' table using the free, online software, GRADEpro GDT, which allows you to import the table directly into RevMan, see here. Alternatively, you can produce the table in RevMan. 

Once you have developed your Summary of findings' table, and discussed the grading decisions with your team, please feel free to contact us, and we will find someone who will be able to check your table. While this is happening, please continue to write up and assimilate your GRADE ratings into your discussion, especially the section on 'quality of the evidence'; conclusions, notably the section on 'implications for practice; abstract and plain language summary.