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Documentation is essential as you work throughout a scholarly review. The process can take months if not years, so documentation makes the creation of a manuscript or presentation much easier, particularly when describing your methodology.
Regardless of whether you're using PRISMA, JBI, or Cochrane, each organization has a variety of templates and checklists to guide your process. Use these to help document each step of your review, creating your final product as you go. This is particularly true for your search strategies.
PRISMA has a checklist just for reporting your search strategy for your systematic or scoping review. This can help guide your process as well as your documentation.
One requirement of a systematic review or a scoping review is that they be replicable. Because of this, it is required that you record your search. This record does not have to be included in the appendices of your review, but you do need to have if asked for.
The easiest way to accomplish this is via an Excel or Google worksheet. See example below:
This differs from an official search strategy in that an official search strategy is a far more detailed account of how a search was formulated and run across an individual database.
Creating a protocol before diving into your scholarly review allows the team to plan through the entire process before getting started, from searching and creating inclusion and exclusion criteria to creating a plan for extracting and synthesizing your data.
In theory, registering your systematic or scoping review with a repository plants a flag in the topic that lets others know you are already researching it. In addition, it is required if you are doing a systematic review with the Joanna Briggs Institute. Following the PRISMA guidelines would create a 1-2 page protocol that would help you plan out your review. There are multiple places to register your protocol.