According to PRISMA, "a systematic review protocol describes the rationale, hypothesis, and planned methods of the review".
A protocol will help:
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.
There are a number of guides on how to write protocols. check any specific guidelines relevant to the discipline to see whether they provide guidelines for protocols as well as reviews.
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.
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