Background and objectives: Government policy makers and social system stakeholders (e.g. citizens, practitioners) seeking information about how to get the right mix of social programmes and services to the citizens who need them are not well supported by existing resources that enable them to: 1) find the best available synthesised research evidence using a taxonomy of topics they understand; 2) reassure themselves that they have conducted a comprehensive search of the full range of evidence that is relevant to them; and, 3) quickly zero-in on decision-relevant information. To address these challenges, we aimed to develop and test an approach to build and continuously update a comprehensive ‘one-stop shop’ for pre-appraised, synthesised research evidence about social systems.
Methods: We iteratively developed and tested a taxonomy of social system government sectors (e.g. education) and programme areas (e.g. community services) by drawing on existing categorisation schemes, conducting more than 20 key-informant interviews, and by applying the taxonomy to bundles of reviews. We tested search strategies in databases that index social sciences literature (e.g. EBSCO, IPSA, JSTOR, ProQuest and Web of Science), as well as hand searching the websites of organisations known to publish reviews in this broad domain. We also developed and tested an approach to add value to content by highlighting decision-relevant information such as review quality and country focus.
Results: We have now established the feasibility of our approach to developing and maintaining a comprehensive and continuously updated ‘one-stop shop’ for pre-appraised synthesised research evidence about social systems. We will soon complete our analysis of the distribution of systematic reviews by taxonomy category, review quality, and country focus, among other variables, both currently and as trends over time.
Conclusions: A ‘one-stop shop’ now exists to support government policy makers and social-system stakeholders.