This discussion paper considers the use of research reviews to inform policy making and practice. In particular, it outlines some of the shortcomings of traditional narrative literature reviews and discusses principles of systematic review, which may be drawn on to make reviews more useful for some policy makers’ and managers’ purposes. While the paper considers this topic broadly, its intended audience is people involved in the Australian fire and emergency management industry. Where possible, we have therefore sought to include information sourced from literature relevant to this industry, although we also include a wider range of literature on the use of research reviews for policy making and practice more generally.
The key arguments made are as follows:
- That research reviews are an increasingly valuable tool for policy makers and managers
- That traditional narrative literature review methods can be (but are not always) misleading and of limited value to end users
- That the use of more systematic and transparent approaches to reviewing research may improve the quality and usefulness of research reviews for end users (within certain limitations discussed in the report).