Preferred Reporting Items for Overviews of Reviews (PRIOR): a protocol for development of a reporting guideline for overviews of reviews of healthcare interventions

Syst Rev. 2019 Dec 23;8(1):335. doi: 10.1186/s13643-019-1252-9.


Background: Overviews of reviews (i.e., overviews) compile information from multiple systematic reviews to provide a single synthesis of relevant evidence for healthcare decision-making. Despite their increasing popularity, there are currently no systematically developed reporting guidelines for overviews. This is problematic because the reporting of published overviews varies considerably and is often substandard. Our objective is to use explicit, systematic, and transparent methods to develop an evidence-based and agreement-based reporting guideline for overviews of reviews of healthcare interventions (PRIOR, Preferred Reporting Items for Overviews of Reviews).

Methods: We will develop the PRIOR reporting guideline in four stages, using established methods for developing reporting guidelines in health research. First, we will establish an international and multidisciplinary expert advisory board that will oversee the conduct of the project and provide methodological support. Second, we will use the results of comprehensive literature reviews to develop a list of prospective checklist items for the reporting guideline. Third, we will use a modified Delphi exercise to achieve a high level of expert agreement on the list of items to be included in the PRIOR reporting guideline. We will identify and recruit a group of up to 100 international experts who will provide input into the guideline in three Delphi rounds: the first two rounds will occur via online survey, and the third round will occur during a smaller (8 to 10 participants) in-person meeting that will use a nominal group technique. Fourth, we will produce and publish the PRIOR reporting guideline.

Discussion: A systematically developed reporting guideline for overviews could help to improve the accuracy, completeness, and transparency of overviews. This, in turn, could help maximize the value and impact of overviews by allowing more efficient interpretation and use of their research findings.

Keywords: Healthcare interventions; Methods; Overviews of reviews; Reporting; Reporting guideline.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research*
  • Checklist / standards*
  • Guidelines as Topic / standards*
  • Humans
  • Review Literature as Topic*