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Knowledge Synthesis: Systematic, Scoping & Other Reviews

What is a Protocol and Why Do You Need It?

A protocol is a plan for how you will conduct your review. Creating one saves you time and frustration when conducting your review because the process prompts you to think through how you will approach issues which may arise in the search, screening, extraction, and synthesis stages of your review.

It's recommended to publicly register your protocol. Registration can:

  • Avoid duplication of effort
  • Increase transparency
  • Reduce bias
  • Raise awareness of your work pre-publication

Adapted from: Stewart L, Moher D, Shekelle P (2012). Why prospective registration of systematic reviews makes sense. Systematic Reviews 1(7)

Registering a Protocol

Some journals publish systematic or scoping review protocols. You may also register your protocol in PROSPERO or Open Science Framework. If you have questions regarding protocol publication, email your subject librarian for assistance.

Data Management for Systematic and Scoping Reviews

A strong research data management plan is important for any research project, and should be developed in parallel with your protocol.

In addition to being a place to register your protocol, OSF can host your review data such as search strategies and data extraction forms.