The protocol serves as a roadmap for your review and specifies the objectives, methods, and outcomes of primary interest of the systematic review. Having a protocol promotes transparency and can be helpful for project management. Some journals require you to submit your protocol along with your manuscript.
A good way to familiarize yourself with research protocols is to take a look at those registered on PROSPERO. PROSPERO's registration form includes 22 mandatory fields and 18 optional fields which will help you to explain every aspect of your research plan.
A protocol ideally includes the following:
Once you have written your protocol, it is advisable to register it. Registering your protocol is a good way to announce that you are working on a review, so that others do not start working on it.
The University of Warwick's protocol template is available below and is a great tool for planning your protocol.