Structured Literature Review Protocol

Title (25-50 words)


Provide a short title of approximately 25-50 words. This should reflect your key research question or aim.



Abstract (200 words) (5%)

This should summarise your protocol including your topic, question/aims, search methodology and methods. It is much easier to write this after you have completed the rest of your assessment.



Introduction: (200 words) (5%)

Critically describe the background to your review topic area



Background: (600 words) (15%)

Provide a detailed justification for conducting your SLR. Through a critical analysis of relevant research and, if appropriate, other literature, identify the limitations of previous research and how this supports the need for your proposed SLR. You should explain how you have consulted the relevant databases (e.g. DARE / PROSPETRO and Google Scholar) to ensure that no review on this topic already exists.



Research questions and aims (200 words) (5%)

You will have a focused review question or specific aim. You may wish to include a

maximum of four objectives which outline the how you will achieve the review aim.



Perspective and Methodology (1000 words) (25%)

This section should provide a critical discussion of your selected type of review (qualitative or quantitative). Include a critical discussion of your chosen approach and why this will best answer your study question. Critically describe the types of study design you are likely to identify within your search to answer your question.



Methods: Literature Search Strategy (750 words) (20%)

This section should detail your search strategy by explaining how you intend to conduct your search. Include a critical discussion of the processes associated with searching and selecting primary research studies. Critically discuss your proposed databases, search terms (subject headings and keywords), and delimiters (including dates). Describe and provide a rationale for any limitations of the review (e.g. restricting your search to English language papers only, or not conducting a comprehensive search of grey literature resources). Briefly discuss how searches will be combined using appropriate Boolean operators (e.g. AND, OR, NOT) and if appropriate, indicate whether your search strategy will be guided by any framework (e.g. PICO/SPIO). In this section, you should also justify your study inclusion/exclusion criteria (your inclusion/exclusion criteria may be presented in a table; do not include the table in your word count) and describe the screening processes for selecting the papers to include in the review.



Methods: Quality Assessment (400 words) (10%)

Identify a quality assessment tool (provide the reference to the source). Critically discuss your chosen tool and explain how you plan to conduct the methodological quality assessment of primary research studies using this tool. Discuss whether papers will be included/excluded on the grounds of quality – and provide your rationale for this decision.

Please include an example of the quality appraisal tool that you intend to use in your review as an appendix.



Data Extraction Tool (350 words) (10%)

Identify and adapt or develop an appropriate data extraction tool (reference the source, if appropriate). Critically discuss your tool and any adaptations to it, and explain how you plan to conduct data extraction using this tool. Discuss why particular data items have been chosen for extraction. Attach a template of your proposed data extraction tool as an appendix (this may be a draft of your final tool).



Timetable (100 words)

Given the normal and expected constraints of completing this review (i.e. one semester for full time students / 2 semesters for part time students), you should propose a timetable to conduct this study that fits with your programme and acknowledge its limitations.



Budget and likely funding sources (100 words)

You should describe the costs associated with your study and how will you meet these.



Dissemination of results (100 words) (5%*)

Give an indication where and how you intend to disseminate the results of your review.

* for timetable, budget & dissemination

It is essential that this work is underpinned by relevant theory and evidence throughout.

  1. The title, reference list and any data collection tools in the appendix are excluded from the word count.p(14)

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