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SOCRATES 3 (synopsis of Cochrane reviews applicable to emergency services)
  1. P Gilligan1,
  2. H Law1,
  3. G Lumsden1,
  4. J Brenchley1,
  5. G Kitching1,
  6. A Taylor1,
  7. A Khan1,
  8. M Shepherd1,
  9. J Jones1,
  10. D Hegarty2
  1. 1Specialist Registrars in Emergency Medicine on The Yorkshire Rotation, UK
  2. 2General Practitioner, Leeds, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr P Gilligan
 1 Far Moss, Alwoodley, Leeds LS17 7NU, UK;

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“Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings so that you should come easily by what others have laboured hard for”. Socrates (399–469 BC)

In this the third article of the SOCRATES series the working party present summaries of the output of the Cochrane Collaborative Review Groups who indeed “have laboured hard” and to whom all of those interested in the practice of evidence based medicine owe a debt of gratitude.

The quality of systematic reviews from the Cochrane Library has been shown to be consistently of a high standard.1,2 Emond et al felt that 12% of the 795 completed reviews in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) from April 2000 were directly relevant to emergency medicine and that more than one third of the CDSR had some relevance to their practice.3 Rowe et al argued that “given the high quality of the Cochrane Reviews, it would seem reasonable to expect Emergency Physicians to become familiar with this systematic review resource”.4 The SOCRATES group was formed independently to find and summarise those completed reviews that our fellow practitioners should be most familiar with.

As noted previously the SOCRATES group examined 1750 articles in the CDSR that had been produced by 52 review groups and summarised the articles that they deemed to be particularly relevant to those practising emergency medicine. This article presents summaries of relevant reviews in the areas of respiratory medicine.


The members of the 10 strong SOCRATES team were assigned Cochrane groups whose articles were of particular interest to them. A pair of reviewers then selected the articles from each of the Cochrane Groups that they felt were relevant to emergency medicine. In the event of disagreement the lead author decided on the appropriateness of a paper for inclusion. A reviewer …

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  • Funding: none.

  • Conflicts of interests: none declared.

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