RE: Using synthesis and meta-analysis to make the most of evaluative evidence: what is your experience? | Eval Forward

Dear Olivier and Lal,

Thank you very much for your contributions.

Regarding a definition of synthesis (or synthetic approach), for the purpose of this discussion, we can define it as the process of reviewing, assessing and synthesising existing literature or data to produce a series of outputs (products and services).

A first step in this process is to review the quality of the literature or data that will be aggregated to ensure that is comparable and meet the research protocol requirements. Afterwards, the synthesis is conducted often by academic disciplinary experts, but can also be done by inter- or transdisciplinary working groups or evaluators drawing on knowledge from across academia and beyond, the latter to ensure a comprehensive analysis and avoid the pitfals raised by Lal.

There are many guidelines out there on how to conduct synthesis reviews, especially in the areas of health and education. Perhaps the ones better know and applied in the field of agriculture and rural development are those developed by 3IE and Campbell Collaboration, accessible at this link:

Best regards,