This dissertation paper will be a systematic review research protocol: – Minimum 7 references from studies should exist from Medline/PubMED, PsycINFO, EMBASE A systematic review is a review of the evidence on a clear research question. The important aspect of a systematic review, which makes it different to a literature review, is that it follows a methodology that is documented and uses explicit and systematic methods (e.g. searching, reviewing, and quality assessment). Statistical methods are sometime used (e.g. meta-analysis), or a review may be narrative (describing and commenting on the findings). Systematic reviews are useful as they help to combine findings using a replicable and scientific approach. Unless you have a good understanding of statistics and are willing to learn procedures for meta-analysis, we expect most students to undertake a narrative review of the literature. There is an example proposal below but your proposal will have to be a lot more detailed. For further examples look at published systematic reviews or previous theses for ideas. Title page/research question This is self-explanatory, but the title should reflect what you are doing. Example title: The effects of post-migration stress on the mental health of refugees. A systematic review. Introduction In this section you describe the reasons for your study and why it is necessary. You are setting the context, explaining what you are doing and justifying why you are doing it. You will want to define and explain any concepts you are using (e.g. what is “CBT”, what is “attachment”). You will also want to draw on previous literature to explain what has been done before and use that to help explain why your study is necessary. Look at published reviews to get a better idea of how to write an introduction. This is a very important part of the proposal as this is where you justify your study and outline what you are doing and why. It should form the basis of your study and your research question. By the end of this section you should be in a position to state your aims and your research questions. Example background: Define “refugees”. Use previous literature to set the context (traumatic experiences, exile, many sources of trauma and loss in home country and country of asylum). Literature on mental health problems of refugees. Define post- migration stress and report on the existing literature (studies that show ta relationship between post-migration stress and increased symptoms). Explain there have been no previous reviews about this and why it is useful to do so. Research question and aims This is where you will state your research question and aims. You may have a primary and secondary research question or just one question depending on your topic. Example aims: The aim of this study is to conduct a systematic review looking at the relationship between post-migration stress and mental health problems. 40 Example research question: What is the relationship between post-migration stress and mental health problems in refugees and asylum seekers in high income countries? Methods This is where you will describe your methods. You will want to address the following issues: Introduction to a systematic review: You should give a brief description somewhere of what a systematic review is and why they are useful. Databases: Report what databases you will be searching (e.g. Medline/PubMED, PsycINFO, EMBASE, Web of Science, etc.). Search terms: Give an idea of what types of search terms will be used. You are not expected to have a full list of search terms or a fully developed search strategy at this point, but some indication of the types of search terms would be useful. Inclusion and exclusion criteria: Say what your inclusion and exclusion criteria will be. Remember this is the proposal and your criteria may change later on, but it is important to be explicit at this stage about what they might be. You do not need to justify all of your inclusion and exclusion criteria as many of them may be obvious from the rest of the proposal. However, if you are using criteria which may be a little controversial or unclear (e.g. you are excluding a gender and it is unclear why) a line or two justifying this would be helpful. Assessment of quality: The assessment of quality uses a specified set of criteria to judge the research quality of the study. You can find several examples of quality assessment in previous published literature reviews. If you have an idea of the quality assessment tool you may use, then you can say that. Otherwise you can just give an idea of the type of criteria you may use (e.g. sample size or definition of terms). Findings/synthesis of research: Here you will describe the method you will use to synthesise your results (e.g. qualitative narrative synthesis). An example will be submitted.