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Illuminating review results using systematic evidence mapping

Date and Location




Saturday 21 September 2013 - 10:30 - 12:00


Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author

Esther Coren

Contact person

Esther Coren
Abstract text
Background: Of 29,151 citations retrieved for a review about street children, the majority were excluded as not topic relevant, and 2085 potentially relevant studies were excluded on study design. Given that street children are a ‘hard to reach’ research group further analysis of these studies was undertaken, using systematic mapping methods. A further 1087 citations were included following an updated search Objectives: 1. To systematically and transparently describe this additional research literature 2. To identify a subset of studies for inclusion in thematic synthesis. Methods: 294 research studies from low and middle income countries (LMICs) only were included in the map. They were screened and coded according to a range of predetermined categories (e.g country, study design, population, study purpose) using Eppi Reviewer 4 software. A thematic synthesis was performed on selected studies focusing primarily on intervention processes. Results: 294 publications were included and descriptively coded (NB. approx 7% are awaiting coding). There was a wide range of study designs: cross-sectional surveys (n=125, 43%); 95 (33%) qualitative /ethnographic studies; 27 (9%) each were reviews, case-control, or case-studies, 10 (3%) used other designs. Research purpose varied, 102 (36%) studies gathered young people’s views about their lifestyles, 90 (n=31%) reported epidemiological/medical data about street children, 51 (n=19%) evaluated contextual/predictive factors, and 9% reported young people/provider views about services. Mapping identified an important gap between the wealth of descriptive research and the relative absence of intervention evaluations in LMICs in this area Further descriptive characteristics and the findings of the thematic synthesis will be presented. Conclusions: This project illuminated a body of literature providing insights into the mechanisms and processes of effectiveness, enabling the research team to access the views and experiences of street children. Systematic mapping provides a broader overview of a topic, and useful information for practitioners and policy makers.