What is Evidence Synthesis?
According to the Royal Society, 'evidence synthesis' refers to the process of bringing together information from a range of sources and disciplines to inform debates and decisions on specific issues. Evidence synthesis generally includes a methodical and comprehensive literature synthesis focused on a well-formulated research question. The aim is to identify and synthesize all of the scholarly research on a particular topic, including both published and unpublished studies. Evidence syntheses are conducted in an unbiased, reproducible way to provide evidence for practice and policy-making, as well as to identify gaps in the research. Evidence syntheses may also include a meta-analysis, a more quantitative process of synthesizing and visualizing data retrieved from various studies.
Evidence syntheses are much more time-intensive than traditional literature reviews and require a multi-person research team. Before embarking on an evidence synthesis project, it's important to clearly identify the purpose. For a list of types of evidence synthesis projects, see Types of Evidence Synthesis.