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Table 2 PRISMA-P terminology

From: Preferred reporting items for systematic review and meta-analysis protocols (PRISMA-P) 2015 statement



Systematic review

A systematic review attempts to collate all relevant evidences that fits pre-specified eligibility criteria to answer a specific research question. It uses explicit, systematic methods to minimize bias in the identification, selection, synthesis, and summary of studies. When done well, this provides reliable findings from which conclusions can be drawn and decisions made [25, 26]. The key characteristics of a systematic review are (a) a clearly stated set of objectives with an explicit, reproducible methodology; (b) a systematic search that attempts to identify all studies that would meet the eligibility criteria; (c) an assessment of the validity of the findings of the included studies (e.g., assessment of risk of bias and confidence in cumulative estimates); and (d) systematic presentation, and synthesis, of the characteristics and findings of the included studies


Meta-analysis is the use of statistical techniques to combine and summarize the results of multiple studies; they may or may be contained within a systematic review. By combining data from several studies, meta-analyses can provide more precise estimates of the effects of health care than those derived from the individual studies


In the context of systematic reviews and meta-analyses, a protocol is a document that presents an explicit plan for a systematic review. The protocol details the rationale and a priori methodological and analytical approach of the review