The objective of a systematic review search is to identify all the relevant studies (and all the relevant data from the studies) related to the research question. The first step in a systematic review is to formulate a clear, well-defined research question.
- A Protocol which is a plan for conducting the review should also be published prior to starting a systematic review. It provides a brief summary of the topic, the inclusion and exclusion criteria, sources and methods that you will use for identifying materials, the concepts related to the search and a list of the appropriate publications.
- It is a good practice to register your protocol to avoid unplanned duplication. Some publishers require a protocol registration number before the peer review process as a mark for quality and to assure that the review is conducted according to the reported methodology.