Evidence Synthesis in the Humanitarian Sector: A Guidance Note

systematic evidence synthesis

This Guidance Note discusses an approach to systematic evidence synthesis in the humanitarian field. Though its recommendations explicitly apply to the evidence synthesis outputs commissioned by the Humanitarian Evidence Programme, they also aim to facilitate a broader conversation about evidence synthesis in the humanitarian field. Section I of this document discusses the utility and limitations of evidence synthesis in the humanitarian field. Section II outlines the process of conducting an evidence synthesis for the Humanitarian Evidence Programme, while Section III discusses the nature and types of evidence that these reviews may synthesize. Section IV delves deeper into certain stages of the review process, including defining the eligibility criteria, naming the search strings, and accounting for heterogeneity within the findings. Given that this document is not an exhaustive guide to evidence synthesis processes, reviewers are strongly encouraged to familiarise themselves with the growing literature around this topic. A suggested reading list can be found in the concluding Section V.

The Humanitarian Evidence Programme is a partnership between Oxfam and the Feinstein International Center at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University (FIC). The Programme aims to synthesize research in the humanitarian sector and communicate the findings to policymakers, humanitarian practitioners, and researchers, with the ultimate goal of improving humanitarian policy and practice.  The programme is funded by UK aid from the UK government; however the views expressed in this document do not necessarily reflect the UK government’s official policies.







Thumbnail of Report "Do Famine Declarations Really Lead to Increased Funding?

This policy brief examines the relationship between famine declarations and funding since 2011. It shows that, with that one exception, there is little evidence that famine declarations actually result in a rapid increase in funding.

Image of Brief Cover: Actingin in Advance of Flooding

In 2022 UN OCHA led a pilot anticipatory action intervention in South Sudan. This brief presents UN actors’ perceptions of this intervention.

Cover of Report "Sex, age (and more) still matter"

This report reviews progress, outlines barriers to further progress, and makes recommendations to advance gender equality in the humanitarian system.

Picture of report cover "Co-investigators but with different power"

Building on a previous report on the localization of humanitarian assistance, this study focuses on issues unique to the localization of humanitarian research.

Thumbnail of Famine Prevention Report Cover

This study reviews what we have learned regarding policies and interventions to prevent famine, and how these can be scaled up more rapidly.

Cover of Report "Anticipatory Action in Motion"

This anticipatory action landscape brief summarizes what has been published on anticipatory action since 2020 and what progress has been made on existing recommendations.

Load more