Background: demand for evidence synthesis to inform practice, policy and research agendas has grown exponentially over the last three decades. In response, systematic review methods have evolved to meet the increasingly diverse types of questions that systematic review methods are being used to address.
An evidence synthesis approach that has emerged and is increasingly being used are the mapping review and evidence gap maps (EGMs). These are new tools, which complement existing approaches in the family of systematic methods of reviewing evidence. Typically, they seek to address a broader research question, where multiple types of intervention may be evaluated, such as preterm birth, epilepsy or intimate partner violence. EGMs provide a visual overview of existing evidence, schematically representing the types of interventions evaluated and outcomes reported. EGMs provide a useful tool for informing judgement and evidence-based decision making in policy and practice by identifying ‘gaps’ where there is little or no evidence available and where future research should focus. While mapping reviews and EGMs have developed and been used to support policymaking in international development, they have a broader applicability, which has seen them used more widely, with clear applicability to the health sector. This workshop provides an introduction to mapping reviews and EGMs, outlines the gap-map methodology, and presents some examples.
Objectives: the purpose of this workshop is to introduce attendees to mapping reviews and EGMs, how they differ from other systematic reviews, examples of how they are used, methods, and how to produce an EGM. The workshop will include presentations and an interactive exercise, with an opportunity for participants to work on developing the framework for an EGM.
- 5 minutes: introduction to ourselves and how the session will run
- 10 minutes: introduction to mapping reviews
- 10 minutes: introduction to EGMs
- 15 minutes: methods for undertaking a mapping review – developing the protocol
- 20 minutes: demonstrating an EGM
- 30 minutes: developing an EGM framework interactive exercise