Systematic research review

The systematic research review, as carried out by the Danish Clearinghouse for Educational Research, is in accordance with internationally recognised product standards common to similar research environments all over the world.

Systematic reviews are designed to provide the best possible evidence-informed responses to questions which politicians, practitioners, or government and professional bodies want to examine. These (review) questions are defined and articulated up by the Danish Clearinghouse for Educational Research in collaboration with the respective commissioning body.

The Danish Clearinghouse for Educational Research assembles a group of researchers who are experts within the field (the review group) and tasks them with an advisory and quality assurance role. Review groups can consist of both Danish and international researchers; what matters is that they have relevant insight into the field in question. This group of highly qualified researchers assists the Danish Clearinghouse for Educational Research in compiling a research protocol and a conceptual framework for the systematic review, in drawing up a search strategy, in assessing the quality and relevance of the research identified in the search, and in providing references on any additional relevant research that was not identified during the search process.  

The review process can be divided into three stages:

  1. Based on a transparent search strategy, existing documentation is compiled from research and development literature.
  2. Each study is registered, analysed and assessed, and it is decided whether the respective study should be included as part of the review’s evidence base. This is done on the basis of the study’s relevance and quality assessment.
  3. The collective knowledge and findings in the evidence base are compiled in an exhaustive synthesis, containing responses to the review question(s), explicitly rooted in and documented by the evidence base.

A systematic review can typically be completed in nine to twelve months.

Systematic research mapping

A systematic research mapping provides an overview of research within a specific field by searching for, compiling and assessing empirical data following the same procedure as outlined above.

A systematic research mapping does, however, differ from a systematic review in two crucial ways: 1) knowledge and findings are not compiled and analysed in a extensive synthesis; 2) the search process is less exhaustive as a systematic research mapping is most often carried out within a narrower time frame and with less resources.

Thus, a systematic research mapping can provide an overview of existing research of sufficient quality standards within a particular field or relating to a particular question. And it can also reveal gaps and/or blind sports in the existing research landscape where research is either so sparse or of such low quality that compiling a synthesis on the basis of it would be extremely difficult.

Systematic research mappings hence include not only a thematic overview of existing research, but also an assessment of the feasibility of performing a synthesis of the findings in a particular field.

A systematic research mapping can typically be completed in six to nine months.

Brief systematic research mapping

A brief systematic research mapping and traditional systematic research mapping are based on shared principles and follow a similar process with the key difference being that a brief systematic research mapping takes considerably less time to conduct. This can be an advantage in cases where there is an urgent need for an overview of a specific field of research within a short deadline. Brief systematic research mappings therefore necessitate the narrowest possible scope in terms of field and search-strategy. Furthermore, the amount of manageable empirical data is equivalently limited.

A brief systematic research mapping can typically be completed in three to six months.