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Systematic Review Service: Protocols


The preparation of a protocol is an important step in conducting a high-quality systematic review. The protocol ensures that a systematic review is carefully planned and that what is planned is explicitly documented before the review starts. It promotes:

  • Consistent conduct by the review team 
  • Accountability 
  • Research integrity
  • Transparency of the eventual completed review

The protocol allows you to describe the purpose of your review, what your hypothesis is and how you plan to conduct the review. Planning provides an opportunity for your team to anticipate potential problems, which may reduce arbitrary decisions throughout the process.

A well-planned systematic review may be more likely to be completed, adhere to guidelines and reach publication.

Scoping Review Protocols

As with systematic reviews, it is important to prepare a protocol when conducting a scoping review.

Registering your Review Protocol

Why register?

When systematic and scoping review protocols are made publicly and permanently available, readers can identify any deviations from the planned methodology and whether these deviations may have biased the review's results and conclusions.

Registering your protocol also:

  • Helps establish that you are conducting your review
  • May reduce the risk of multiple reviews addressing the same question
  • Helps the review process remain systematic, unbiased and well-defined
  • Helps ensure the quality of the review