Another day in Copenhagen

What amazed me (again) today, was the amount of people from various areas actually doing systematic reviews. this was evident from the poster session, where very interesting pieces of research were showcased. Form teaching maths in secondary schools to water irrigation systems, foreign investment and feeding programmes. I learned about regression discontinuity designs (RDD’s) and non-randomised studies based on participant self-slection (I don’t think this one is a great idea for health care, I can just imagine the participants going absolutely crazy…. )

But, my pick of the day goes to a poster titled ” Systematic reviews in international development: closing the gap between evidence and policy”. This research was conducted through 3ie – International Initiative for Impact Evaluation. The pie chart shows the proportion of reviews done in particular areas. The large blue piece refers to systematic review related to health care.

Although I knew that most systematic reviews were done in this area, I was surprised that they actually comprise more than 60% of all reviews.

As part of the study, they also did a “gap analysis”. They looked at specific topics (HIV/AIDS and Maternal health – to date) and mapped out the systematic reviews that exist in these areas, as well as the quality of evidence provided by them. One thus has a overview of what evidence is available and what is still needed.

This is an example of the HIV/AIDS gap map, which can be seen in the table. The reviews are colour coded according to their quality. This table, as well as the one for Maternal and child health, is also available online ( The reviews in the table link to the full text and the summary thereof.  I think this is a very useful tool when deciding where research is needed and I had to think back to our priority setting exercise with the EHCRC. Although the author mentioned that this is still work in progress and will need to be updated regularily, I think it is worthiwhile to visit the website to find out more!

I am off to the National Danish Museum to learn some more about the Danish culture. Did you know, that the Danish are regarded as the happiest people in the world? Well, I think it is contagious 🙂


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