Your first step is to devise a focused, clear question which your review will address. You then need to develop a protocol which outlines the study methodology including:
You may wish to do some scoping searches of relevant databases to find out how much has been written, and what limits you should apply.
There are several different frameworks you can use to help structure your research and ensure you have clear parameters for your search. The most commonly used one used for health-related reviews is the PICO framework:
|Review title||The effect of blueberries on cognition and mood: a systematic review of human intervention trials|
|Population||Individuals of all ages, without regard to gender, race or ethnicity.|
|Intervention||Supplementation with blueberries, relevant blueberry products or extracts from blueberries. This may include freeze-dried blueberries, blueberry concentrate, or blueberry juice.|
|Comparator||Placebo or control groups.|
|Outcome||Changes in cognitive function based on cognitive screening measures (such as Mini mental state examination, Montreal Cognitive Assessment), neuropsychological interview, informant/carer responses to assessment tools or changes in mood. Secondary outcomes include: changes in biochemical levels in biological fluids. Of particular interest are inflammatory markers, cardiovascular disease risk factors, and markers of gastrointestinal health.|
This example is extracted from: PROSPERO 2018 CRD42018100888.
Another framework may be more suitable depending on your review topic. Here are some other options: