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What is a Protocol?
PRISMA definition: A systematic review protocol describes the rationale, hypothesis, and planned methods of the review. It should be prepared before a review is started and used as a guide to carry out the review.
This is especially important because a systematic review is a research method that can guide clinical decision-making. However, protocols can be useful for other review types as well.
Benefits to writing a protocol:
- Ensure that your methodology is established a priori
- Work out all aspects of the process with your review group before investing too much time
- Aligns the group to the intent, methods, and flow of the review
- Systematic reviews are a type of research; research requires a protocol
See the links below for examples of protocol templates.
Why Register a Protocol?
Registries list reviews that are in progress. They are important because it lets others in the academic and research community know that a review on your topic is underway. It also provides a registry number for the review group when submitting the final paper for publication.
See the links below for examples of review registries.
Examples of published/registered protocols
- Kanzler, K. E., Kilpela, L. S., Pugh, J., Garcini, L. M., Gaspard, C. S., Aikens, J., Reynero, E., Tsevat, J., Lopez, E. S., Johnson-Esparza, Y., Ramirez, A. G., & Finley, E. P. (2021). Methodology for task-shifting evidence-based psychological treatments to non-licenced/lay health workers: protocol for a systematic review. BMJ Open, 11(2), e044012. https://doi-org.libproxy.uthscsa.edu/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-044012
- Lemke, K. C., Velasquez, S. T., Bland, L., Lopez, E., Ajtai, R., Ford, L. A., Amezaga, B., Cleveland, J. A., Ferguson, D., Richardson, W., Saenz, D., & Zorek, J. A. (2021). Simulation interprofessional education in health professions education: A scoping review protocol. JBI Evidence Synthesis. https://doi.org/10.11124/JBIES-20-00487
- Moote, R., Ratcliffe, T.A., Gaspard, C., Kennedy, A., Riccio Leach, E., Vives, M., & Zorek, J.A. (2021). Clinical interprofessional education in the health professions: a scoping review protocol. JBI Evidence Synthesis. Advance online publication. doi: https://doi.org/10.11124/JBIES-21-00207