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Systematic, Scoping, and Rapid Reviews

Protocol Development

A protocol is a detailed plan for how you will conduct your review. It should be completed before you begin the review, and usually contains:

  • a description of the research question
  • the rationale for and objectives of the review
  • detailed eligibility criteria
  • information sources to be searched
  • a draft of the search strategy for one database
  • a description of how you plan to manage your data
  • your plan for screening and selecting studies
  • your data extraction plan and list of data items
  • your plan for appraising study quality (if applicable)
  • a description of how you will synthesize your results

Protocol Guidance:

Systematic Review Protocols

Scoping Review Protocols

Protocol Registration

Registering your protocol (i.e., making it publicly available) before you begin your review is recommended. Creating a public record of your planned study helps reduce bias by making your planned methods explicit, and it can help reduce the likelihood of multiple reviews on the same question. See also: The Importance of Registering Systematic Reviews.

Where to register:

PROSPERO - registry of systematic reviews, rapid reviews and umbrella reviews on topics related to health and social care. PROSPERO does not accept scoping review registrations.

OSF Registries - registry for all forms of research, including systematic and scoping reviews.

You may also choose to submit your protocol for publication in a journal that accepts protocols, such as: