Addressing confusion in evidence synthesis: developing a structured taxonomy for informing the synthesis of evidence to inform policy and practice

Session Type
Evidence synthesis innovations and technology
Munn Z1, Pollock D1
1Health Evidence Synthesis, Recommendations and Impact (HESRI), Australia

Background 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. Objective This project proposes the idea of developing a taxonomy of evidence synthesis to assist authors to identify an appropriate review type and provide structure to the field of evidence synthesis. Methods This objective will be achieved through a variety of projects and methods, including scoping reviews, consultation, evaluation/testing and Delphi type studies. A broad, interdisciplinary advisory panel has been formed to assist with the project. The first project is a scoping review of previous typologies and taxonomies of evidence synthesis. Conclusion 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. This presentation will provide further detail regarding the plans and vision for this collaborative initiative.