A protocol is the plan for a piece of research. It usually research protocol includes information about:
• what question the research is asking and its importance/relevance
• the background and context of the research, including what other research has been done before
• how many people will be involved
• who can take part
• the research method
• what will happen to the results and how they will be publicised.
A protocol describes in great detail what the researchers will do during the research. Usually, it cannot be changed without going back to a research ethics committee for approval.