Evidence Gap Maps

Evidence gap maps are an important tool for evidence-informed policies and strategic research prioritisation.

Evidence gap maps are an important tool for evidence-informed policies and strategic research prioritisation.

3ie has developed an interactive and dynamic online platform which allows users to explore the evidence included in a particular evidence gap map (EGM), with links to user-friendly summaries of all studies.

Explore the various Maps

What are evidence gap maps?

3ie’s EGMs are thematic evidence collections covering a particular issue such as education, HIV and AIDS, or agriculture. EGMs consolidate what we know and do not know about ’what works’ in a particular sector or sub-sector by mapping out existing and ongoing systematic reviews and impact evaluations in that sector.

EGMs identify evidence from systematic reviews and impact evaluations and provide a graphical display of areas with strong, weak or non-existent evidence on the effect of development programmes and initiatives.

EGMs are useful for policymakers and development practitioners looking for evidence to inform policies and programmes. For donors and researchers, these maps can inform a strategic approach for commissioning and conducting research.

EGMs are not intended to provide recommendations or guidelines for policy and practice, but are meant to be sources that inform policy development and guidelines for practice.

How are evidence gap maps conducted?

The methods for conducting EGMs draw on the principles and methodologies adopted in existing evidence mapping and synthesis products. 

The framework is developed based on a review of the academic and policy literature, and when possible, in consultation with relevant policymakers and other key stakeholders. The included studies are identified through a comprehensive search of published and unpublished literature. EGMs include both completed and ongoing studies to help identify research in development which might help fill existing evidence gaps.

To inform decisions about policies and programming, EGMs include a comprehensive collection of relevant systematic reviews which are critically appraised by 3ie staff. The links to summaries allow users to explore the findings of systematic reviews, and to make an informed judgment about the extent to which they can rely on the systematic review evidence for decision making.

To inform strategic research prioritisation, EGMs include both impact evaluations and systematic reviews. The visual representation of all the existing evidence allows users to identify key gaps where little or no evidence from impact evaluations and systematic reviews is available and where future research should be focused.

To know more about evidence gap maps and the methodology used to identify studies, read World Bank policy working paper authored by 3ie's systematic review experts entitled Evidence gap maps - a tool for promoting evidence informed policy and prioritizing future research

How to use evidence gap maps?

The aim of EGMs is to enable policymakers and practitioners to explore the findings and quality of the existing evidence on a topic, and to facilitate evidence-based decision making.

Each EGM adopts a framework designed to comprehensively capture the different interventions and outcomes associated with an intervention.

Download the how to use evidence gap maps document (229.7 KB)

© Department for International Development/Pippa Ranger

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