The project or research protocol is the document that describes the planning of the different stages of an investigation.
This protocol document has traditionally been called, from the Greek protokollen, the first sheet of a papyrus that describes the procedures to carry out some activity.
This term is used in English-speaking countries, although with another connotation. The Royal Spanish Academy defines it in a meaning as “Written and detailed plan of a scientific experiment, a clinical trial or a medical intervention”; In fact, the use of this word is so widespread that in this paper both terms (protocol and project) will be used interchangeably.
Scientific research is one of the most elaborate activities of human thought; in chapter 1 it was pointed out that it is the main activity carried out by the human being to promote the advancement of knowledge and eliminate ill-founded practices or beliefs.
We understand by knowledge the conscious and informed knowledge that we are capable of communicating and discussing, which corresponds to the Greek term episteme, which is distinguished from vulgar or doxa knowledge.
Scientific knowledge is that obtained through a methodology and according to some scientific method. This set of knowledge about the world, as well as the human activity destined to achieve them, is what is called science (from the Latin scire which means: “to know, to know”, and from the Greek sophia, “the art of knowing “).
Science must not pursue the illusory goal that its answers are definitive, or even probable. Its progress is directed towards an endless purpose: to discover incessantly new, deeper problems and justify our answers in this regard. As Bunge states, “Science does not pretend to be true nor, therefore, final, incorrigible and certain.”
To this end, the research must be properly planned, for which the preparation of the project or protocol is indispensable.
The research protocol allows the researcher to explain scientific reasoning; order your ideas in relation to the study problem; determine through the definition of the objectives and hypothesis what is intended to be obtained with the investigation; establish the most appropriate method, techniques and procedures, as well as define the characteristics of the subjects under study and guarantee their safety.
Likewise, it is useful to establish the necessary resources and the time required for the execution of each of the stages and thus avoid making arbitrary decisions in the development of the investigation.