Data lies at the heart of policy-making and research funding in public services. Reliable data enables faster, more accurate, and impactful decision-making and resource allocation.
But, there's one big challenge with research papers: they are scattered across the web and grey literature. Besides, this data is often technical and hard to access, which only experts can understand.
Consequently, decision-makers find it cumbersome to filter the imperative knowledge needed to make effective policies and research in low and middle-income countries.
Sectors like healthcare, agriculture, and HIV/AIDS depend heavily on the existing data to view the impact of interventions and make future decisions.
So, it's vital to see the interventions and their outcomes across several sectors to create impactful initiatives and policies and eliminate research wastage.
That's when knowledge tools like Evidence Gap Maps (EGMs) come in useful.
This article discusses what EGMs are and how they are an effective tool for policymakers and researchers.
What Are Evidence Gap Maps?
Evidence gap maps are an interactive, intuitive, and effective tool for measuring intervention (like policies and programs) in any sector, sub-sector, or area.
It shows the volume of evidence and the "gaps" where little or no research has been conducted.
It gives researchers and decision-makers the ability to find and access the research in an uncomplicated manner. Further, most evidence gap maps come with user-friendly summaries and links to resources where policymakers can dig deeper into the findings.
While the rows in the map show interventions, columns contain the outputs of the same.
In low and middle-income countries, EGMs are most effective as they help channelize the limited resources in initiatives to create the most impact. Plus, it saves research wastage where duplicate or low-quality research is being conducted.
EGMs have the edge over other knowledge or evidence mapping tools because it shows the research gaps and offers a resource for informing practice and policy.
Evidence gap map pulls the data from existing research and presents it on the map that makes it simple to comprehend the data. It allows the users to filter their searches allowing them to dig deeper into the sectors or sub-sectors.
The sole reason for using EGMs is the fact that despite the inflation in the number of research papers, data is not being appropriately allocated, or research is getting wasted.
Let's now see the critical purposes served by EGMs.
What's the Purpose of Evidence Gap Maps?
Evidence gap maps serve 2 key purposes
- It helps in policy-making decision-makers often struggle with finding reliable and accurate research to make decisions. EGMs present the existing data on the map, come with links to find additional information, and have user-friendly summaries to grasp the findings. This enables faster acquisition of data and its implementation.
- It helps fund research to avoid wasting resources on conducting duplicate research, the best way is to figure out a gap in the current sector. It helps avoid wasting research funds by prioritizing gaps. It also suggests the strategic use of scarce research funding.
So, even though a large number of research papers are published every month, the challenge to extract accurate, actionable finding is still a challenge. Evidence Gap Map is the tool that enables effective decision-making and fully leverages existing funds and resources. The efficiency brought by the EGMs aims to enhance the lives of people in low and middle-income countries and improve the impact of interventions.
Final Take Away
Reliability, accessibility, and the ability to understand the existing research are integral for funding future research and making the best of the limited resource.
Hence, the evidence gap map is a handy tool in public services for precise, faster, and effective decision-making to impact the masses and enhance their livelihood.
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