Introduction Stem cell research (SCR) and the biomedical potential of developing therapies are crucial topics in biomedicine. Like other biotechnologies, stem cells are context specific entities understood through local conceptualisations of culture, politics, nationhood, as well as their perceived therapeutic efficacy. There is a need to recognise how these developments are understood within the healthcare community and by those who may use them. This protocol describes a systematic literature review that aims to explore healthcare professionals', healthcare students', patients', and donors' perceptions of SCR and therapy (SCR/T) and the factors that influence their perceptions. Methods and analysis Following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta Analyses guidelines a systematic review will be undertaken. Web of Science, Scopus, Medline+Journals @Ovid and Ariti Library will be systematically searched for studies on healthcare professionals', healthcare students', patients' and donors' perceptions of SCR and developing therapies. All articles will be screened by a researcher for inclusion and evaluation based on 12 criteria for evaluating qualitative research. At least 20% of articles will also be reviewed by a second researcher and any disagreement will be solved via consensus. Data extracted from the articles will be analysed using thematic synthesis enabling the identification of concepts across studies and the development of new theory. Ethics and dissemination As part of a larger research project, ethical approval has been provided by the Institutional Research Board (IRB) at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital. This review will be able to determine the impact that certain perceptions of SCR/T will have on the development of future medical knowledge and practice. The results of the study will be published in a peer-reviewed journal and disseminated at relevant conferences. PROSPERO registration number CRD42018103627.Copyright © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2019.
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