A protocol states your research question and methodology, along with your plan for conducting your evidence synthesis. You usually choose a reporting guideline to follow to describe your protocol and the subsequent review. Your team then uses this protocol as a guide to conduct the research.
"The PRISMA extension for scoping reviews was published in 2018. The checklist contains 20 essential reporting items and 2 optional items to include when completing a scoping review. Scoping reviews serve to synthesize evidence and assess the scope of literature on a topic. Among other objectives, scoping reviews help determine whether a systematic review of the literature is warranted."
Use this document as a template to prepare a protocol for a range of evidence synthesis methodologies (such as systematic reviews, scoping reviews, or systematic maps)
Great for reviews that don't fit a standard health science mold
Adapted from Cornell University Libraries LibGuide
As scoping reviews become more prevalent, more registry services are accepting protocols. It's advisable that you register your protocol, if possible, so that others can see what you’re working on and not duplicate your efforts. You should also search these sites for protocols that might overlap with your own.
Some registries are health-science focused, but as the social sciences use these methods more frequently, protocols in the social sciences are becoming more common.
van den Akker, O.R., Peters, GJ.Y., Bakker, C.J. et al. Increasing the transparency of systematic reviews: presenting a generalized registration form. Syst Rev 12, 170 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13643-023-02281-7
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