Selecting appropriate methods of knowledge synthesis to inform biodiversity policy

Andrew Pullin, Geoff Frampton, Rob Jongman, Christian Kohl, Barbara Livoreil, Alexandra Lux, György Pataki, Gillian Petrokofsky, Aranka Podhora, Heli Saarikoski, Luis Santamaria, Stefan Schindler, Isabel Sousa-pinto, Marie Vandewalle, Heidi Wittmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Responding to different questions generated by biodiversity and ecosystem services policy or management requires different forms of knowledge (e.g. scientific, experiential) and knowledge synthesis. Additionally, synthesis methods need to be appropriate to policy context (e.g. question types, budget, timeframe, output type, required scientific rigour). In this paper we present a range of different methods that could potentially be used to conduct a knowledge synthesis in response to questions arising from knowledge needs of decision makers on biodiversity and ecosystem services policy and management. Through a series of workshops attended by natural and social scientists and decision makers we compiled a range of question types, different policy contexts and potential methodological approaches to knowledge synthesis. Methods are derived from both natural and social sciences fields and reflect the range of question and study types that may be relevant for syntheses. Knowledge can be available either in qualitative or quantitative form and in some cases also mixed. All methods have their strengths and weaknesses and we discuss a sample of these to illustrate the need for diversity and importance of appropriate selection. To summarize this collection, we present a table that identifies potential methods matched to different combinations of question types and policy contexts, aimed at assisting teams undertaking knowledge syntheses to select appropriate methods.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1285-1300
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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