Methods for Research Synthesis: A Cross-Disciplinary Approach

Methods for Research Synthesis: A Cross-Disciplinary Approach

October 3, 2013
8:30am - 5:30pm



Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study
Radcliffe Gym
10 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Workshop Description:

Methods for research synthesis, including systematic review, meta-analysis, and expert elicitation, are used in almost every field to combine the results of studies that address similar quantities or phenomena. These methods are often employed when estimating parameter values for policy analysis, such as the toxicity of a substance, the monetary value of risk reductions, or the effectiveness of different interventions. However, researchers often face difficult questions about how to choose among these methods and how to adapt each method to particular problems and available data. If used inappropriately, these approaches may yield misleading conclusions about the relative merits of alternative interventions, leading to undesirable policy outcomes.

This Harvard Center for Risk Analysis workshop is part of an interdisciplinary project to improve the use of these methods in policy analysis. Its goal is to promote evidence-based decision making. Its objectives include:

  1. Increasing cross-disciplinary communication and collaboration on methodological issues by bringing together experts from diverse fields to address common problems;
  2. Defining more rigorously the types of problems and data for which different synthesis methods are most appropriate, alone or in combination;
  3. Developing innovative approaches for addressing specific challenges in applying these methods; and,
  4. Identifying areas where further cross-disciplinary work will be particularly fruitful

The workshop will provide an opportunity for presentation and discussion of invited papers on the application of these methods in diverse contexts. Papers will evaluate, for example, how a particular method should be applied in different contexts, or how different methods should be used for a particular application. Following the workshop, the papers will be revised and submitted for publication.

Papers and Authors:

For a complete list of papers and authors, please visit the Center for Risk Analysis website.


If you have any questions about your registration or conference logistics, please email Lisa Matthews,

For your convenience, a block of rooms have been reserved for this meeting  until September 2:

Sheraton Commander Hotel
16 Garden St.Cambridge, MA 02138
To place a reservation, go to: 
Phone: (617) 547-4800


Please complete the following fields to register for the workshop. There is no registration fee.

Harvard University
Center for the Environment

Address: 24 Oxford Street, 3rd Floor, Cambridge
Phone: (617) 495-0368

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