Evidence syntheses process
Questions and priorities
In dialogue with government agencies, municipalities, stakeholders and researchers, we formulate questions that are relevant to answer in order to achieve the Swedish environmental objectives. You are very welcome to suggest questions in the form below. The Council for Evidence-Based Environmental Analysis has decided that the evidence syntheses between 2020 to 2022 will focus on climate and biodiversity. Formas analysts make an initial assessment of to which extent the questions have been investigated in scientific studies. The Council for Evidence-Based Environmental Analysis then decides which questions are to be investigated in more detail in a feasibility study.
In a feasibility study, we examine the state of knowledge and the background to the question in more detail and investigate whether the question can be answered in a systematic evidence synthesis. We conduct limited searches for scientific studies to assess the number and nature of the studies that can answer the question. If several studies have been conducted in a similar way, then the question can be answered using a so-called systematic review, in which we report what the scientific literature as a whole says on the issue. Some broader questions are more suitable to examine in a systematic map. In a map, we do not aggregate the results, instead we report which studies that have been conducted and identify knowledge gaps. Based on the feasibility study’s conclusions, the Council for Evidence-Based Environmental Analysis decides whether the question should be answered in a systematic evidence synthesis or not.
Together with expert researchers and stakeholders, we develop an implementation plan (also called a protocol) for the systematic evidence synthesis. The protocol describes the methods we will use and the limitations of the evidence synthesis. The plan also contains the criteria that must be met to determine whether a study is relevant to the question and can provide reliable results. Independent experts review the protocol. They verify whether all important aspects of the question have been considered and whether a systematic review or systematic map can be conducted correctly.
We follow international guidelines from the Collaboration for Environmental Evidence which describe how systematic evidence syntheses in the environmental field are to be carried out. Each evidence synthesis includes extensive searches for scientific studies, the goal is to find all studies that can answer the question. We review each study together with expert researchers to determine whether the study is relevant for the question and whether the results are reliable. Data from the studies that meet the relevance and quality criteria are reported and analysed. Where appropriate, we can compile quantitative data from several different studies in a meta-analysis to show what the research as a whole says on the issue. Each evidence synthesis is reviewed by stakeholders and independent experts. Carrying out a evidence synthesis is a time-consuming task that takes about one to two years to complete.
The Council for Evidence-Based Environmental Analysis determines the conclusions of the systematic evidence synthesis, which is then published on Formas website.