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Integrative Reviews

What is a protocol?

According to PRISMA, "a systematic review protocol describes the rationale, hypothesis, and planned methods of the review".

A protocol will help:

  1. define clear objectives for the review
  2. execute the review
  3. evaluate the success of the process and results of the review
  4. prevent duplication of research by others

This should be the last stage of the planning exercise once the topic is worked out and tested and the inclusion and exclusion criteria is determined.

How to write a protocol

Registering and publishing protocols

It is a good idea to register the protocol in a publicly accessible way as this will also help avoid other people starting a review on the same topic.

Protocol registry sites

Journals publishing protocols

Below are some examples of journals that publish protocols.

To find more journals that publish protocols, search databases such as One Search or Scopus for your broad research field anywhere in the record and the words systematic and review and protocol in the title of the article. From the results screen, view the filter for Journal or Source Title to see which journals have published systematic review protocols.

Also visit journal websites in your field to check the aims, scope and author guidelines to find more.

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