Systematic reviews (SRs) are a rigorous and transparent form of
literature review. They involve identifying, synthesising and assessing
all available evidence, quantitative and/or qualitative, in order to
generate a robust, empirically derived answer to a focused research
question. Increasingly considered a key tool for evidence-informed
policy making, a number of donors – most notably the UK Department for
International Development (DFID) and AusAid – are focusing attention and
resources on testing the appropriateness of SRs in assessing the impacts
of development and humanitarian interventions.
This briefing paper reflects upon the use of SRs in international
development research. It draws upon the authors' shared experience of
conducting 8 systematic reviews, six of which focused specifically on
fragile and conflict-affected situations, and identifies where an SR
approach adds value to development research and where it becomes
Hagen-Zanker, J.; Duvendack, M.; Mallett, R.; Slater, R.; Carpenter, S.; Tromme, M. Making systematic reviews work for international development research. SLRC Briefing Paper No. 1. ODI, London, UK (2012) 4 pp.
Making systematic reviews work for international development research. SLRC Briefing Paper No. 1