FEIT Research Project Database

Improving the use of existing evidence in decision making for environmental management

Project Leader: Angus Webb
Collaborators: Kate Schofield, Sylvia Lee (United States Environment Protection Agency)
Primary Contact: Angus Webb (angus.webb@unimelb.edu.au)
Keywords: catchment management; data mining; ecohydrology; environmental hydrology and water resources; water resources
Disciplines: Infrastructure Engineering

Worldwide, environmental research is producing vast amounts of published literature, but it is not being subsequently used to best possible effect. Systematic review of the literature can support environmental management decisions, improving their transparency and quality. However, currently-accepted methods require too much work, and have not been widely adopted.

In recent years, methods for ‘rapid evidence synthesis’ have emerged that attempt to reduce the workload involved in systematic review, but maintain the rigor and objectivity of the approach. However, these methods have not been well researched, and it is unknown what is gained and lost by taking a rapid approach to evidence synthesis.

In this project, you compare and combine existing methods of evidence synthesis and conduct research to identify the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches, particularly in relation to ‘classic’ systematic review. Various specializations within the overall topic are possible in negotiation with the supervisory team. This work will be conducted in collaboration with the United States Environment Protection Agency Office of Research and Development, long time collaborators with the principal supervisor.