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Research Guides

Systematic Reviews and Related Evidence Syntheses: Proposal

Getting started with proposal of review

The proposal stage is the most important step of a review project as it determines the feasibility of the review and its rationale.

The steps are: 

1. Determining review question and review type. 

2. Search for related reviews to proposed question. Places to search include:

3. Evaluate previous reviews for quality, as well as comparing their scope to the proposed review. The following tools can be used to 

  • ROBIS (Risk of Bias in Systematic reviews)
  • AMSTAR: Assessing the Methodological Quality of Systematic Reviews, for meta-analysis

  • CASP Checklist: Critical Appraisl Skills Programme

4. Further refine question by defining the eligibility criteria

  • Eligiblity criteria are the characteristics of the studies/research to be collected. Inclusion criteria are those characteristics a study must have to be include. Exlcusion criteria are exceptions to the inclusion criteria.

5. Develop a preliminary search and find a few studies that match the eligibility criteria

  • Consdier working with a librarian to develop a search. The purpose is to estimate the number of citations to be sorted (giving some idea of the amount time it will take complete the review) and to find at least a few studies that match the criteria.

6. Summarize proposal: A written proposal helps in framing the project and getting feedback. It should include:

  • A descriptive title of project, which includes the type of review
  • A brief introduction
  • A description of previous reviews and the rationale for the proposed review
  • An appropriate framed question for the review
  • The eligibility criteria