Protocols are necessary for several reasons:
In order to reduce bias, eligibility criteria need to be determined early in the systematic review planning process. The term "eligibility criteria" refers to what you plan to include and exclude from your systematic review. These criteria are decided after the research question is developed but before searches are completed. Criteria to consider include study design, dates of interest, whether you will include non-English studies, study duration, and setting. Below is a list of criteria that may be used to determine inclusion or exclusion.
|Type of criteria||Example|
|Date of publication||Date ranges may be applied when updating a systematic review or when specific to an intervention or therapy|
|Language of publication||Include studies in any language or limit to those that can be read by the review team|
|Type of participants||May be limited to specific groups of people or age ranges|
|Study design||May include specific study designs and exclude others based on best to answer the research question|
|Intervention of interest||Includes interventions of interest and excludes any others|
|Outcomes of interest||Includes outcomes of interest and may exclude studies reporting outcomes not of interest|
|Setting||May be limited to a specific setting like inpatient, ambulatory, classroom, etc.|
|Type of publication||Reviews, editorials, commentaries, and letters are often excluded|
Use any of the templates below to assist in writing a systematic review protocol.
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.