In Step 2, you will write your systematic review protocol. This is a detailed work plan for your systematic review. You will:
This page has checklists and templates to help you write your protocol. Librarians can help you refine your protocol based on systematic review best-practices.
Click an item below to see how it applies to Step 2: Develop a Protocol.
Covidence is a tool that can be used for screening, quality assessment, and data extraction. Decisions made in this stage will inform the logistics and completion of future review steps. Specify the use of Covidence in the protocol, if applicable, and note team member roles for these tasks.
It is best practice to develop a protocol and make it publicly available before starting a systematic review. Protocols describe the rationale, hypothesis, and planned methods of the project before the review has begun and allow readers of completed reviews to identify deviations from planned methods and determine whether the bias impacts the interpretation of review results and conclusions. You can upload a review protocol to a website or registry and make it accessible so researchers can know what reviews are planned or in process. While not an inclusive list, several options of places to upload or deposit your protocol can be found in our Protocol FAQ.
HSL Protocol Template
Many elements of a systematic review will need to be detailed in advance in the protocol. An example of items included in the protocol are:
Unsure of what to include in your systematic review protocol or how to address certain items? PRISMA 2015 has a special extension specifically for best reporting methods of writing a protocol. View a list of help documents below, including an E&E (Elaboration & Explanation) document for examples.
You can upload your protocol to a website or registry and make it accessible to others. While not an inclusive list, several options of places to upload or deposit your protocol can be found below. Alternatively, some journals publish systematic review protocols. Verify publishing requirements of systematic review protocols on the website of the journal in which you intend to submit for publication.
Compare protocol registries to see which tool might meet your needs.