Designing and registering the review

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Network meta-analysis should be done as part of a systematic review. Good quality systematic reviews, irrespective of whether they include pair-wise meta-analyses or network meta-analyses, are built on good design and careful planning. To reduce potential for bias, methods should be pre-specified in a protocol with subsequent deviations and changes from what was planned, recorded and explained adequately in the completed review report. In this chapter we describe the key features of a systematic review protocol and highlight areas which may warrant additional thought when planning a network meta-analysis. Transparent conduct and reporting enables those using systematic review and network meta-analysis findings to judge the quality of a review and assess for themselves the potential impact of any deviation from what was planned initially. We make the case why protocols should be available in the public domain and outline the role of systematic review protocol registration. We introduce PROSPERO, an open register designed specifically for prospective registration of systematic reviews. We look at how reviews with network meta-analyses have been registered and provide a step-by-step guide to the PROSPERO registration process.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNetwork Meta-Analysis
Subtitle of host publicationEvidence Synthesis with Mixed Treatment Comparison
EditorsGiuseppe Biondi-Zoccai
PublisherNova Science Publishers Inc.
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-63321-004-2
ISBN (Print)978-1-63321-001-1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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