This project is a collaborative initiative with key stakeholders across many scientific fields to establish an online, interactive, and scalable evidence synthesis taxonomy in the form of a freely available online resource.
JBI EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS TAXONOMY INITIATIVE
The primary objective of this project is to develop a comprehensive evidence synthesis taxonomy to encourage and facilitate appropriate research synthesis to inform policy and practice. Additional objectives include:
- To overview current evidence synthesis approaches and identify areas for improving efficiencies in the development of evidence syntheses
- The identification of gaps within the evidence synthesis taxonomy for further investigation (i.e. development of additional risk of bias tools, reporting guidelines, methodological approaches)
- Ensure appropriate evidence syntheses are conducted to inform policy and practice
OVERVIEW OF THE TAXONOMY
Evidence synthesis (for example systematic reviews) and meta-epidemiology are fields that are undergoing radical transformation and expansion due to the need for policy makers, practitioners and the community to have access to summarised and trustworthy evidence to guide decision making. Historically, evidence synthesis strategies focused on answering whether or not something works (i.e. questions relating to effectiveness). However, there now exists a multitude of approaches, methods and methodologies to conduct evidence synthesis.
Enabling researchers to ensure that they are undertaking the “right” evidence synthesis approach to respond to a clinical or policy question appropriately has strategic implications from a broader evidence-based healthcare perspective. This project proposes the idea of developing a taxonomy of evidence synthesis to provide some much-needed structure to this burgeoning field. Such a taxonomy will assist in improving the ability of potential evidence synthesisers to navigate through the complexities of evidence synthesis thus reducing redundant evidence synthesis efforts, saving scarce research resources, and ensuring evidence synthesis projects are conducted to a higher standard. This will ensure and facilitate the translation of evidence from these syntheses into policy and practice, and as a comprehensive resource, will be of benefit to many in the international community of knowledge generation and translation.
Zachary Munn is supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Investigator Grant (1195676).