Network meta-analysis and its implementation in Cochrane Reviews

Workshop category: 

  • Other review formats (e.g. overviews of reviews, network meta-analysis)
Date and Location


Tuesday 22 October 2019 - 16:00 to 17:30


Contact persons and facilitators

Contact person:


Li T1, Chaimani A2, Higgins J3
1 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA
2 Paris Descartes University, Cochrane France, France
3 University of Bristol, UK
Target audience

Target audience: 

Cochrane Review authors, editors, trainers

Level of difficulty: 

Type of workshop

Type of workshop : 



Background: network meta-analysis (NMA) is increasingly considered the appropriate approach to synthesizing evidence to inform healthcare decisions and development of clinical practice guidelines. However, Cochrane Reviews account for only a small proportion of NMAs in the literature, and only a small proportion of Cochrane Reviews include NMAs.

NMAs play a central part in the Cochrane’s new Content Strategy. In this special session, Convenors of the Comparing Multiple Interventions Methods Group will describe some tools and guidance documents that aim to facilitate additional use of NMA in Cochrane Reviews.

- to highlight the importance of NMA in Cochrane Reviews;
- to present recent developments that aim to facilitate the use of NMA within Cochrane Reviews;
- to identify issues and challenges that Cochrane Review authors encounter when conducting NMAs.

Description: this 90-minute session will start with a brief explanation of the NMA framework and its role in Cochrane Reviews. We will then provide an overview of material available for review authors to consult, perform, and interpret NMA in the context of a Cochrane Review. These include a prominent new chapter in the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions, a recently launched Cochrane Interactive Learning module (, user-friendly software (, and an initiative to develop a set of expectations as part of the MECIR (Methodological Expectations of Cochrane Intervention Reviews) framework. We will demonstrate some of the software options and tools for running NMA, presenting results and evaluating their credibility. At the end of the session, we will invite attendees to share their experience and any difficulties they may have with producing Cochrane NMA Reviews.