Review criteria

The Review criteria section is fully functional in reviews using study centric data management. All new protocols created from 25 April 2023 have study centric data management enabled.

See Should I use study centric data management in my review?

Your review will be underpinned by the PICO of your review question: the Populations, Interventions, Comparators and Outcomes that will inform how you select studies for potential inclusion in your review.

With the PICO of your review question in mind, use the Review criteria section in RevMan to plan the syntheses that you will conduct. This is where you set your synthesis criteria.

Click on Review criteria on the left side navigation panel. In this Review criteria section you see six tabs: Interventions, Intervention groupings, Outcomes, Covariates, Characteristics, and Risk of bias.  

Define and add the interventions and intervention groupings

The first step is to define the interventions and intervention groupings that you want to analyse in the review. This enables you to investigate broader synthesis questions (using the intervention groupings) and narrower synthesis questions (using the interventions). 

Add the granular interventions 

Click on the Interventions tab. Identify the most granular list of interventions and add them using the Add intervention button. This list should include all the interventions that you have identified in your protocol, and you should also include planned comparators, for example placebo, or another ‘control’ intervention.

In this example, the following list of interventions have been added:

  1. Aureomycin
  2. Co-amoxiclav
  3. Co-trimoxazol
  4. Penicillin V
  5. Placebo
  6. Tetracycline
  7. Xibornolics

Under Description, you can add any additional useful information about each Intervention. For the control intervention, click Add Intervention again and type 'Placebo' or the control’s name under Name. These granular interventions help you address narrower synthesis questions.  

Add the intervention groupings 

Click on the Intervention groupings tab. Add the intervention groups and assign the relevant interventions to each group. Ensure that you also enter the comparator group as well.

In this example, one intervention grouping is called ‘Any antibiotic vs placebo’ with two intervention groups and the relevant interventions for each group:

  1. Antibiotics: Xibornolics, Aureomycin, Tetracycline, Co-amoxiclav, Co-trimoxazol, Penicillin V
  2. Placebo: Placebo

Another grouping is called ‘Grouping by coverage’ with three intervention groups and the relevant interventions for each group:

  1. Broad-spectrum antibiotics: Tetracycline, Co-amoxiclav, Co-trimoxazol
  2. Narrow-spectrum antibiotics: Penicillin V, Xibornolics, Aureomycin
  3. Placebo: Placebo

These intervention groupings help you address broader synthesis questions.  

Add and describe the outcomes

Click on the Outcomes tab and add your outcomes, a description, whether they are continuous or dichotomous, and if continuous, the unit of measure. In this example we assume you are interested in looking at whether the participants still have a cold after one week. Click the Add Outcome button. Under Name, type 'Persistent symptoms after 7 days'. Under Description add which symptoms you are concerned about. Since the participants are assessed to either have a cold or no cold, choose Dichotomous as the outcome Type.  Later, if you want to analyse other outcomes, you can return here to add them. 

If you have multiple time points for an outcome, these need to be added into RevMan as separate outcomes. 

Add covariates for subgroup and sensitivity analyses

Click on the Covariates tab. This tab is used to define study characteristics and associated categories that you plan to investigate with subgroup analyses (see Subgroup analyses) or filter for sensitivity analyses (see Sensitivity analyses). 

Click the Add Covariate button and type your Covariate name. Type a category and press Enter to start defining the different Categories. 

Note, that in order for content to fit in the forest plot, covariate names can only be 60 characters long.  

Set up your analyses using your review criteria

It is essential that authors set up analyses at protocol stage before entering any study results data. This enables you to check that you have included the Interventions, Intervention groupings, Outcomes and Covariates within the Review criteria correctly. It also means that once you import your results data, your analyses will be automatically populated (a key benefit of using study centric data management). To do this, follow the steps on the Pre-define analyses page.

The Characteristics tab includes high-level criteria for extracting data from your included studies. The Risk of bias for tab includes the domains of the risk of bias tool you plan to use for assessing risk in your included studies. These are already set-up as default, so you do not need to edit them.