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Systematic Reviews & Meta-Analyses

What is a protocol?

A protocol describes the rationale, hypothesis, and planned methods of the systematic review. It is created before data collection or analysis begins. Detailed protocols should be made publicly available and registered (maintained as a permanent record) in a registry. (See below for a list of registries by subject)

Note: A protocol is required to be elligible for Tier Two of the Systematic Review Service at Princeton. 

Protocol Guidelines & Templates

Evidence Synthesis Protocol Template (General)

  • This document is based on the PRISMA Statement (evidence-based minimum set of items for reporting in systematic reviews and meta-analyses) extensions for systematic review protocols and scoping reviews, and materials developed by The Campbell Collaboration.
  • Ghezzi-Kopel, K., & Porciello, J. (2021, August 5). Evidence Synthesis Protocol Template. 

PRISMA for systematic review Protocols (PRISMA-P)

  • The PRISMA-P extension was published in 2015 aiming to facilitate the development and reporting of systematic review protocols.

NIRO-SR (Non-Intervention, Reproducible, and Open Systematic Reviews)

  • Guidelines for creating and pre-registering your protocol as well as writing your systematic review for non-interventional research.
  • Recommended for systematic reviews that do not use a PICO (or similar structure)
  • Topor, M., Pickering, J. S., Barbosa Mendes, A., Bishop, D. V. M., Büttner, F. C., Elsherif, M. M., … Westwood, S. J. (2022, October 17). Non-Interventional, Reproducible, and Open Systematic Review (NIRO-SR) guidelines. 

Protocol Repositories


A general repository for all protocols and registrations regardless of discipline or research area. 

Education & Social Sciences

Health & Medical Sciences