Reviews & Evidence Scoping

NFER literature reviews are rigorous, succinct and independent. They inform our clients’ policy, practice and commissioning decisions. We have delivered reviews for governments and research and education organisations in the UK, Europe and beyond.

Using existing evidence to inform policy and practice decisions makes sense. Nobody wants to invest in programmes or approaches that won’t help learners to achieve or don’t offer good value for money where robust evidence on these initiatives already exists.

There are many different approaches to reviewing the evidence base. These range from highly rigorous and comprehensive systematic reviews, which can take a long time to complete, through to narrative reviews. Here at NFER, we specialise in rapid reviews and evidence scoping. This type of review gets to grips with the evidence base relatively quickly, while still being rigorous, impartial and replicable. This means that you can be confident that the findings and recommendations are sound. We also deliver brief evidence summaries as part of wider research and evaluation projects, both to inform the development of research instruments and analytical frameworks and to contextualise the intervention we are evaluating.

NFER’s information specialists and researchers have extensive knowledge of information sources and education systems worldwide and are highly experienced in delivering all aspects of reviews:

  • helping to shape your research/review questions
  • using targeted search strategies to systematically find the most relevant evidence for your study
  • developing inclusion criteria, coding frameworks and appraisal pro forma
  • using review management and referencing software
  • objectively selecting the best available studies to shed light on your research questions
  • setting out the strengths and limitations of the evidence base
  • summarising and bringing together the evidence
  • and, most importantly, interpreting what the evidence means for policy and/or practice and making sound recommendations.

Our researchers will work with you to decide on the most useful review format to address your needs. Our aim is to create a succinct, accessible resource.  Options include research overviews, theme-based reviews, meta-analyses (where we combine the findings from rigorous quantitative impact studies) and research digests or annotated bibliographies.

If you are interested in commissioning us to work with you, please contact our Bid Team.

If you are interested in accessing the NFER Library resources, our catalogue is here.