4. The protocol

In this session, the importance of having an a priori (i.e. established in advance), detailed protocol (a review/map planning document) will be discussed. The session will highlight the main content that should appear in a review protocol, explaining the level of detail necessary for each stage. The process by which a protocol can be peer-reviewed and published will also be discussed.

Learning objectives:

  • To understand why a protocol is vital for ensuring that systematic reviews and maps are conducted in a reliable manner
  • To appreciate the content and level of detail necessary within a review protocol
  • To understand how protocols can be peer-reviewed and published

To begin, watch the following presentation:

You can find the lecture handouts here.

Next, read the fourth chapter of the guidance from the Collaboration for Environmental Evidence here. We'll revisit sections of the CEE Guidance throughout the course. It focuses on environmental and conservation topics, but is subject agnostic, meaning that it's useful for other disciplines, too. Feel free to focus instead on the Cochrane Guidance if you work with healthcare topics.

Please also take some time to scan back over the first practical exercise to remind yourself of the kind of information contained within a systematic review protocol. You can find the protocol from Module 1 here:

Move to the next module!