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Medicine & Health Sciences: Methodology

Key steps in conducting a systematic review

1.   Formulate the research question
2.   Set up the team
3.   Create a review protocol
4.   Conduct a thorough search of existing information
5.   Select studies per your protocol
6.   Appraise the quality of the studies
7.   Extract data
8.   Summarise the evidence
9.   Interpret the findings
10. Write up the report

Research protocol

Protocols are used to pre-specify objectives and methods for your systematic review. They should be developed prior to the formal literature search to help decrease bias.  Registering protocols is recommended to prevent duplication of effort. 

Once you've developed your protocol, register it. This is a basic requirement for a trial or systematic review, to check if your study has already been done by someone else, and whether your proposed review is necessary. 

Where to register your protocol:

Systematic review cycle

Guides to methodology

Choose the right methodology for the type of review you're doing.  See below for the most prevalent methodology gidelines: