The value of the inclusion and participation of local communities in efforts to assess and manage disaster risk is now widely acknowledged in the academic literature. In the field of disaster risk reduction (DRR) and the design and implementation of early warning systems (EWS) the integration of local knowledge with scientific knowledge has been viewed as a way of operationalising the active engagement of communities. This systematic review and evidence synthesis examined deliberate, researcher-initiated, efforts to integrate local and scientific knowledge within the context of DRR and EWS, exploring the motivations for knowledge integration, the processes of knowledge integration and the outcomes of these processes. Twenty empirical studies were eligible for inclusion in the review. The results indicate that the motivations for knowledge integration derived from real life challenges, that is, that top down DRR measures had not been adopted by local communities and that the knowledge of local or scientific communities in isolation was unable to manage disaster risk. Furthermore, knowledge integration was seen to empower communities and produce DRR interventions that were responsive to local needs and sensitivities. The processes of knowledge integration were participatory and interactive, and a range of outcomes were generated within the context of participatory projects. Nevertheless, neither the processes nor the outcomes of knowledge integration had been formally evaluated. Participatory processes of knowledge integration and evaluation of processes and outcomes need to be considered carefully during the design of the research, allowing for necessary time and the inclusion of appropriate expertise.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103255
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Early online date5 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was financially supported from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Global Challenges Research Fund (project number: EP/P028403/1, the ReNEW project). The views expressed are those of the authors alone and the sponsor had no involvement in the study design, the analysis and interpretation of data, the writing of the report, and the decision to submit the article for publication.


  • Disaster risk reduction
  • Early warning systems
  • knowledge integration
  • Local knowledge
  • Scientific knowledge
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Safety Research
  • Geology


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