Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Structured Review Service: Protocols

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 Open11(2), e044012.
  • 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.
  • 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: