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Evidence Synthesis : Creating the Systematic Review Protocol

Useful resources and tools for planning and conducting systematic reviews

Systematic Review Protocols

Creating a systematic review protocol is an important step in the planning process for your review. A review protocol is beneficial for a number of reasons: 

  • It helps to ensure that all team members are on the same page when it comes to the research question, inclusion/exclusion criteria, etc. 
  • It can help your review team stay focused on answering the original research question. 
  • It can help your group with developing and adhering to a review timeline. 
  • It helps to ensure the transparency and reproducibility of your review.
  • Registering a protocol (more on that below) notifies other researchers of your in-progress review. 

Systematic Review Protocol Registeries

Your review team should strongly consider registering your protocol with a systematic review protocol registry. Doing so will notify other researchers of your work, which can reduce the possibility of duplicate projects. 

In the early stages of your own project, you should also consider searching these registries for review protocols. Doing so will allow you to see if any researchers have ongoing projects on your topic or a similar topic. Also, seeing a completed review protocol (on any topic) could help with constructing your own. 

Systematic Review Protocol Template

Systematic Review Reporting Guidelines and Standards