Evidence for Education Network:Building evidence infrastructure for living reviews
All partners
  • More effective evidence synthesis – all partners

Evidence needs to be able to quickly answer the questions that matter to policymakers and practitioners. One of the current challenges in summarising the evidence is that looking at the evidence base comprehensively takes a long time, but just choosing to look at a small number of studies introduces bias. The EEN is working to try and overcome this challenge by building evidence infrastructure for living evidence reviews that reduce duplication, and therefore time and cost.

The EEN focuses on reducing the time for rigorous review work in two ways: collaboration and automation.

Collaboration

Much of the evidence review work in education is duplicative. Review teams extract information on studies that then sits on computers, as new review teams waste time and money extracting the same information from the same studies. By adding extracted information to a central living database, the EEN hopes to build the infrastructure for rapid reviews.

One of the core principles behind the collaboration in the EEN is building from a shared evidence base. Over 3500 studies with information on context, methodology and outcomes underpin the global” evidence in the Teaching and Learning Toolkit. Network members then add local studies to understand contextual variation and implementation. When EEN members add additional topics to the Toolkit or conduct other reviews, they add to the central evidence database – reducing duplication.

The aspiration is for the collaboration that is being modelled by the network to expand to other organisations conducting evidence reviews. While many outputs might be produced by different organisations for different audiences or purposes – collating and sharing the data from studies will make all evidence synthesis in education more efficient.

Automation

Alongside collaboration, the aspiration to create living reviews can be made more efficient with automation. The EEN currently works with the EPPI-centre at UCL to fund development work on automating elements of the systematic review process. The process of updating the searches for the Teaching and Learning Toolkit will be underpinned by the EPPI-centre’s work integrating the OpenAlex database within the EPPI-reviewer software.

The Future

The aspiration is to have a central living database that doesn’t just contain citation details of studies, but all the information required to quickly synthesise and understand outcomes for policymakers and practitioners.

In the future, we hope that this rich source of information can be built through collaboration and automation to capture all impact evaluations in education.

Learn more

About the project

If you want to get involved in sharing information from systematic reviews or in collaborating on building shared evidence infrastructure, contact Jon Kay

About our members

Find out more about the member organisations behind the EEN, their experience, and how they’re supporting our mission.

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