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Systematic Reviews & Other Syntheses


A protocol outlines your plan or the steps that will be followed in conducting your synthesis and are most commonly developed for systematic reviews, meta-analyses, mixed-method reviews or scoping reviews. In addition to increasing transparency in the review process, registering your protocol informs the research community that your group intends to conduct a review on a particular topic.

Many published syntheses do not report if a protocol was registered or published ahead of time, however, reviews conducted under the auspices of international collaborations require reviewers to register new titles and develop a protocol. Instructions for reviewers along with protocol registries and examples can be found below for the collaborations listed and for systematic reviews conducted independent of these organizations.


Joanna Briggs Institute

The Campbell Collaboration

Other Systematic Reviews


Protocol registries:

Published protocols:

Examples of review protocols:

  • Quantitative review protocols (intervention) for the same review (notice that the registered protocol provides less information than the published protocol):

Registered protocol in PROSERO: Zhang, Q., Yue, J., Zeng, X., Sun, Z., & Golianu, B. (2016). Acupuncture for chronic neck pain: a systematic review. PROSPERO 2015:CRD42015017178.

Published protocol in BioMed Central: Zhang, Q., Yue, J., Zeng, X., Sun, Z., & Golianu, B. (2016). Acupuncture for chronic neck pain: a protocol for an updated systematic review. Systematic Reviews, 5(1), 1.

  • Qualitative review protocol:

Sheach-Leith, V., & Stephen, A. I. (2016). The experiences and support needs of adult family members who face a sudden adult death: a qualitative systematic review protocol. JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports, 14(2), 93-105.

  • Mixed-methods review protocol:

O'Brien, T. D., Noyes, J., Spencer, L. H., Kubis, H. P., Hastings, R. P., Edwards, R. T., ... & Whitaker, R. (2014). ‘Keep fit’exercise interventions to improve health, fitness and well‐being of children and young people who use wheelchairs: mixed‐method systematic review protocol. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 70(12), 2942-2951.