Inclusion criteria and search methods

Inclusion criteria

The Cochrane Incontinence Specialised Register includes randomised controlled trials (RCTs), and controlled clinical trials (CCTs) (including quasi-randomised controlled trials) as defined by Cochrane, including those trials where author clarification should be sought to ascertain method of allocation to intervention or control groups (Lefebvre 2011, Box 6.3.a).

Published and unpublished RCTs and CCTs are identified primarily by systematic searching of electronic databases and formerly by systematic handsearching of relevant conference proceedings.  In the past systematic handsearching of relevant specialist journals was undertaken.  

The Group's Cochrane Information Specialist (CIS) assesses all records identified by the search strategies. Copies of the full published paper(s) of all possible RCTs and CCTs, including those studies where the method of allocation is not stated or unclear, are obtained. These copies are then further assessed for design methodology and relevance to the Group's scope.  Any trials falling outside this scope are excluded. The CIS adds the Group’s own controlled vocabulary terms to relevant records covering: topic, study design, interventions and eligibility for our reviews.  This enables a focused search of the Specialised Register to be run for a particular review.

Electronic bibliographic database searches

The register contains trials identified from these electronic bibliographic databases listed below. 

Currently searched - every three to four months:

 the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (from inception onwards);

  • MEDLINE (covering 1 January 1946 onwards);
  • MEDLINE in process;
  • MEDLINE Epub Ahead of Print.

Previously searched but not currently updated (updated on request of authors):

  • CINAHL (covering 1 December 1981 to 11 May 2016, entry month, inclusive)

Embase: Please note that Embase is not searched directly as the Cochrane Centralised Search Service (part of the Cochrane Evidence Pipeline) searches Embase for all RCTs and CCTs that meet the Cochrane definitions, and submits the records directly into CENTRAL.  For more details please see the CENTRAL creation details in the Cochrane Library.

Searching other sources



The following journals have been searched for all possible RCTs and CCTs, as defined by Cochrane, and relevant trials will be entered into the Register: 

  • Neurourology and Urodynamics (19821985, 19871993 (Nos 14 only)). This journal is not being searched prospectively. 
  • Scandinavian Journal of Urology and Nephrology (Vol 1, 1967 to end 1999, vol 33 issue 5). This journal is being searched prospectively.
  • Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing (1994 to October 1999, inclusive). This journal is not being searched prospectively.

Conference Proceedings 

The following conference proceedings have been searched for all possible RCTs and CCTs, as defined by Cochrane, and relevant trials will be entered into the Register: 

  • American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology conference on pelvic floor dysfunction: An initiative for curriculum enhancement in residency education held on Apr 30 to May 1 1992, in Chicago, Illinois, USA. 
  • American Urogynecological Society (AUGS) 1984 to 1994 inclusive, 1999 and 2000. 
  • Asian Society for Female Urology 2000.
  • International Continence Society (ICS) Abstracts published in Neurology and Urodynamics 1987, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and onwards prospectively. Read by title: 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992,1993, 1994 and onwards prospectively.
  • International Continence Society (ICS)(UK meeting) 2004 
  • International Urogynecological Association (IUGA) 1985, 1992, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001
  • American Urological Association (AUA) annual meeting work in progress handsearching of years (1984 to 2002 inclusive) has been performed and is now being processed.

Maintenance of the Cochrane Incontinence Specialised Register 

The Register is stored in the reference management software Endnote (Endnote 2018). Where possible the records are imported directly from the electronic database searched.  Those conference abstracts and other records not available electronically are entered manually. Our own keywords are added describing the clinical problem covered, the interventions, the study design and the source of the study.


Endnote [computer program]. Version X8.2. Philadelphia (PA): Clarivate Analytics (previously Thomson Reuters), 2018.

Lefebvre C, Manheimer E, Glanville J. Chapter 6: Searching for studies. Box 6.3.a: Cochrane definitions and criteria for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and controlled clinical trials (CCTs) In: Higgins JPT, Green S (editors). Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions Version 5.1.0 (updated March 2011). The Cochrane Collaboration, 2011. Available from