Outcome groups can be defined on the quality assessment template. Authors can create categories using the ‘Add group’ button. 

When extracting data or completing quality assessment for a study you can use outcome groups in the following ways:

  • To categorise outcomes reported in a study into outcome groups to help with analysis. Outcomes for a study can only be assigned to one outcome group, so groups should be defined in a way that are mutually exclusive.
  • To assess the quality of each outcome group independently instead of the study as a whole. This allows you to define a judgement per outcome group for a domain.


Examples of ways outcome groups can be used are given below:

  • Groups for analysis - to label the outcome by important factors that will help to organise data and plan the analysis.
    • Type of synthesis (e.g. quantitative synthesis, narrative synthesis)
    • Severity subgroup (e.g. severe, mild to moderate, mixed population)
    • Age of population (e.g. children, adults, mixed age)
    • Type of study (e.g. cluster studies, individually randomised studies)
    • Comparison type (e.g. active controls, placebo controlled)
  • Groups for quality assessment - to define categories of outcome that are expected to have different risks of bias.
    • Patient-reported outcomes (such as quality of life, symptoms) and Objective outcomes (mortality, hospital admissions)