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PRISMA Checklist Example

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The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement is an evidence-based, minimum set of items required for transparent and complete reporting of systematic reviews and meta-analyses.

The aim of the PRISMA checklist is to assist authors and researchers with the process of conducting and reporting the results of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Many opt to use the PRISMA statement flow diagram to provide a visualization, or map, of how information was processed through a systematic review.

Getting Started with the PRISMA Checklist

To ensure that your manuscript is fit for peer review and publication, learn how to use the PRISMA checklist and create a PRISMA flow chart. Here, we’ll cover key considerations before beginning work with a PRISMA checklist.

Development of PRISMA

The PRISMA statement was updated by a group of 26 reviewers, authors, clinicians, medical editors, methodologists, and other professionals. They came together for a 2-day meeting and then continued to correspond electronically until reaching a consensus about the checklist and an updated flow diagram.

The goal was to create a checklist that could be used in most systematic review scenarios. The 27 items on the PRISMA checklist are considered essential for transparent reporting of a systematic review.

To complete the PRISMA checklist, you can download and save a copy from the official PRISMA website.

Database Research

The manuscript should specify each database searched, including all search terms and any subject headings, truncation, and wildcards. Any limits, such as search years, language, or any other parameters that are applicable to the topic, should also be described and included in the review.

Once all search terms have been defined and limits successfully applied, the manuscript should include the final number of records or articles extracted from each database.

Adding Other Information

As part of the review, the title and abstract of each record needs to be screened to determine whether or not to include or exclude the record in the review. Then, the reports sought for retrieval need to be described. For the records that were excluded (or not retrieved) a reason should be provided.

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The Complete Example

The structure of a PRISMA report will include the items below:

  • Title: Reviewers need to identify their report as a systematic review or meta-analysis in the title. Terms such as “review” or “overview” are not enough to accurately describe for readers whether the review was systematic or if a meta-analysis was performed. The inclusion of the terms “systematic review” or “meta-analysis” in the title can improve indexing and identification.
  • Structured summary: For every manuscript, reviewers need to provide a structured summary of the background, objectives, data sources, study eligibility criteria, participants, and interventions, alongside the study appraisal and synthesis methods, results, limitations, conclusions, and implications of key findings. They also need to add information about the funding for the research and the registration number.
  • Rationale: The rationale for conducting the systematic review needs to be described in context of what is already known. This way, readers can understand the basis of the study.
  • Objectives: Peer reviewers will look to make sure authors provided an explicit statement of the question(s) being addressed in the review.
  • Methods: This section indicates what protocols and methods were used to conduct the research and synthesize the evidence.
  • Eligibility criteria: Manuscript authors need to specify the study characteristics used as criteria for inclusion in the review and provide the rationale for each.
  • Information sources: All information sources and the search dates need to be included.
  • Search: As part of the review, the full electronic search strategy for at least one major database needs to be explained in detail, along with any limits used, so that the searches could be replicated if needed.

Looking for more guidance on navigating the PRISMA checklist, or even the PRISMA flow diagram? DistillerSR has got you covered!

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