Approaches to evidence synthesis in international development: a research agenda

Sandy Oliver, David Gough, James Copestake, James Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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This article discusses the spectrum of synthesis methods available to generate, explore and text theory, their value to the field of international development and innovations required to make better use of the primary research available. It argues for clearer distinctions between syntheses produced as public goods and those tailored to specific circumstances, and strengthening knowledge systems through greater use of maps to navigate existing and missing evidence, harmonised outcomes and measures, and advances in automation technologies. Improved methods and guidance are required for synthesising formative research and investigating contextual factors. Engaging stakeholders and working across academic disciplines support the production of policy-relevant syntheses and inspire methods development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-326
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Development Effectiveness
Issue number3
Early online date11 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Evidence
  • research agenda
  • synthesis
  • systematic reviews

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development


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