Writing a Systematic Review for Publication in a Health-Related Degree Program
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Background: The protocol in this manuscript was designed to help graduate students publish. It is the result of a challenge from our provost in 2013. I developed this protocol over the last 6 years and have exercised the protocol for the last 5 years. The current version of the protocol has remained mostly static for the last 2 years-only small changes have been made to the process.
Objective: The objective of this protocol is to enable students to learn a valuable skill of conducting a systematic review and to write the review in a way that can be published. I have designed the protocol to fit into the schedule of a traditional semester, but also used it in compressed semesters.
Methods: An image map was created in HTML 5.0 and imported into a learning management system. It augments traditional instruction by providing references to published articles, examples, and previously recorded instructional videos. Students use the image map outside the classroom after traditional instruction. The image map helps students create manuscripts that follow established practice and are reported in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA), and whose authorship follows guidelines by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors.
Results: Since its inception, this protocol has helped 77 students publish 27 systematic reviews in nine journals worldwide. Some manuscripts take multiple years to progress through multiple review processes at multiple journals submitted in sequence. Two other professors in the School of Health Administration have used this protocol in their classes. Conclusions: So far, this method has helped 51% of graduate students who used it in my graduate courses publish articles (with more manuscripts under consideration whose numbers have remained uncounted in this sum). I wish success to others who might use this protocol.