Doing a Systematic Review: A Student's Guide

Additional Student Questions

These additional student questions should prove helpful whilst carrying out your systematic review.  If you have a question that isn't answered here, then please get in touch.

How long will it take to develop my review question and produce my protocol?

This is a valid and common question asked by Master's students and unfortunately the answer is 'How long is a piece of string?'  It will depend on the topic area, your experience in the topic area, the amount of published research available, the clarity of the original idea, the length of time it takes to hear back from your supervisor(s) and others involved in your review, the amount of time you can dedicate to it (that is, full-time or part-time) and many other variables.  This is the stage of your review where you will consider different options and this will take time, but remember 'failing to prepare means preparing to fail'.  Whatever time is spent on this stage will be time saved later because you will have a clear question and plan that will guide your review.

Do I have to write a review protocol?

Simply put, it is good practice to write, and then refer to, a review protocol.  Having a protocol will make your research journey easier and will help you to plan research activities, guide your decision making and show what progress you have made.