Methods Expert Group

Methods Expert Group

The Methods Expert Group (MEG) is a group of selected experts on Knowledge Synthesis Methods formed in September 2016. The group has the task of providing and sharing knowledge about the different available methods for knowledge collation, appraisal and synthesis so that robust evidence and knowledge gaps could be identified, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of available knowledge. These methods will be used to identify and characterise robust evidence and knowledge gaps, in response to requests to EKLIPSE from policy makers and societal actors.

‘Knowledge’ can refer to scientific knowledge, technical practitioner knowledge and/or Indigenous and local knowledge (‘ILK’). The work of the expert group informs those addressing EKLIPSE requests about the knowledge synthesis methods available, including their pros and cons, costs, and requirements in terms of human capital and technical tools.

The MEG has produced a guidance note and several outputs including a report and methods notes which can be found below.

The members of the second MEG (running from June 2020 to June 2023) are:

  • Lynn Dicks (University of Cambridge, UK) - Chair, EKLIPSE project partner
  • Nils Bunnefeld (University of Stirling, UK)
  • Miriam Grace (University of East Anglia, University of Cambridge, UK)
  • Nibedita Mukherjee (DEFRA, UK)
  • Spyridoula Ntemiri (Green Fund, Greece)
  • Alister Scott (University of Northumbria, UK)
  • Laura Wendling (VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland)
  • Lyudmyla Zahvoyska (Ukrainian National Forestry University)

Call for Experts in Knowledge Synthesis Methodologies,  (CfMEG.1/2016) 

The first Methods Expert Group (running from September 2016 to June 2020) had the following members:

  • Lynn Dicks (University of East Anglia, UK ) - Chair, EKLIPSE partner
  • Pierre Failler (University of Portsmouth, UK)
  • Johanna Ferretti (Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Germany)
  • Neal Haddaway (Mistra EviEM, Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden)
  • Monica Hernández-Morcillo (Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany)
  • Barbara Livoreil (FRB, France) - Knowledge Coordination Body, EKLIPSE partner
  • Brady Mattsson (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna)
  • Nicola Randall (Harper Adams University, UK)
  • Romina Rodela (Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies, Sweden)
  • Luis Santamaria (Doñana Biological Station, Spanish Research Council (EBD-CSIC))
  • Heli Saarikoski (SYKE) - EKLIPSE partner
  • Emiliya Velizarova (Forest Research Institute - Bulgarian Academy of sciences, Bulgaria)
  • Heidi Wittmer (UFZ) - Knowledge Coordination Body, EKLIPSE partner

EKLIPSE Expert Group on Knowledge Synthesis Methods

The EKLIPSE Expert Group on Knowledge Synthesis Methods. Credit: Neal Haddaway.


Progress so far

September 2016: The closing date for this call was the 10th of September 2016 [original call text]

October 2016: First workshop, Berlin. We agreed on a set of 21 Knowledge Synthesis Methods (KSM), characterised their strengths and weaknesses and began designing a process for method selection.

January 2017: Report produced (EKLIPSE Deliverable 3.1), describing the methods.

April 2017: Guidance notes to each method posted on EKLISPSE website

May 2017: Workshop with the European Union Scientific Advice Mechanism in Brussels, to present our report, and discuss methods and method selection.

November 2017: Second workshop, Brussels to test and finalise a tool/framework for policy requests, co-developed with policy makers and tested with real policy questions.  

Members of the EKLIPSE Expert Methods Group discuss a new methods decision-making tool at their November 2017 workshop. Credit: Emilya Velizarova. 



The MEG has produced a set of guidance notes explaining the purpose of the group.

The MEG has also produced a report 'Knowledge synthesis on environmental decisions' covering the range of different available methods for knowledge synthesis. The report covers 21 existing methods, together with advice on their selection, use and development.

Relatedly, the Group also produced individual methods guidance notes briefly describing each of the 21 methods covered in the report and listing their strengths and weaknesses; they also provide key references and examples of where a method has been used for policy decisions. For the overall context we recommend reading the complete report.


Knowledge synthesis guidance notes

1. Systematic review

2. Solution scanning

3. Subject-wide evidence synthesis

4. Meta-analysis

5. Rapid evidence assessment

6. Scoping review

7. Systematic map

8. Vote counting

9. Non-systematic literature reviews

10. Expert consultation

11. Multiple expert consultation + Delphi

12. Causal criteria analysis

13. Bayesian belief networks

14. Focus groups

15. Discourse analysis

16. Joint fact finding

17. Scenario analysis

18. Structured decision-making

19. Collaborative adaptive management

20. Participatory mapping

21. Multi criteria decision analysis


Supporting Expert Working Groups

The MEG experts have a number of tasks relating to successful requests, including providing expert advice regarding selection of methods, supporting appointed Expert Working Groups and encouraging peer-review of request protocols and final reports.