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Systematic Reviews

Registering a Systematic Review

There are established guidelines on what to do when reporting a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA)

PRISMA is an evidence-based minimum set of items for reporting in systematic reviews and meta-analyses. PRISMA focuses on the reporting of reviews evaluating randomized trials, but can also be used as a basis for reporting systematic reviews of other types of research, particularly evaluations of interventions.

PRISMA 27 Item Checklist (http://prisma-statement.org/documents/PRISMA%202009%20checklist.pdf)

Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions

The Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions is the official guide that describes in detail the process of preparing and maintaining Cochrane systematic reviews on the effects of healthcare interventions. All authors should consult the Handbook for guidance on the methods used in Cochrane systematic reviews. The Handbook includes guidance on the standard methods applicable to every review (planning a review, searching and selecting studies, data collection, risk of bias assessment, statistical analysis, GRADE and interpreting results), as well as more specialised topics (non-randomized studies, adverse effects, complex interventions, equity, economics, patient-reported outcomes, individual patient data, prospective meta-analysis, and qualitative research).

What is a Protocol?

PRISMA "A systematic review protocol describes the rationale, hypothesis, and planned methods of the review. It should be prepared before a review is started and used as a guide to carry out the review. Detailed protocols should be developed a priori, made publicly available, and registered in a registry such as PROSPERO."

Registering a Protocol for a Systematic Review

 

Consider registering your review to reduce duplication of studies and to let others know that yours is being completed. Further, journal publishers now look for registration to ensure that the reviews follow the pre-defined criteria for conducting a systematic review. Below is a list of registries to consider.

Cochrane covers reviews in healthcare (https://work.cochrane.org/starting-new-protocol).

Campbell Collaboration covers reviews in Business and Management, Crime and Justice, Disability, Education, International Development, Knowledge Translation and Implementation, Methods, Nutrition, and Social Welfare (https://campbellcollaboration.org/about-our-group-international/how-to-register.html).

PROSPERO covers reviews in health and social care (https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero/). 

Open Science Framework covers multidisciplinary reviews (https://osf.io/?view_only=).