McMaster Forum | Contextualized evidence syntheses

The Forum produces timely and demand-driven contextualized evidence syntheses that address pressing health and social system issues faced by decision-makers. This includes evidence syntheses produced within:

  • days (e.g., rapid evidence profiles or living evidence profiles)
  • weeks (e.g., rapid syntheses that at a minimum include a policy analysis of the best-available evidence and typically in 10- or 30-business days)
  • months (e.g., full evidence syntheses or living evidence syntheses that are updated and enhanced over time)

To view examples of any of these types of products or to find any that we have completed on topics of interest to you, please browse our searchable products page.

Our contextualized evidence syntheses can be prepared in a way that includes a combination of different analyses to inform issues at different stages of the policy cycle. The question(s) we address may focus on helping decision-makers in: 

  1. understanding a problem and its causes
  2. selecting options for addressing a problem
  3. identifying implementation considerations
  4. monitoring implementation and evaluating impacts

Each synthesis includes, at a minimum, a policy analysis consisting of a profile or synthesis of the best-available evidence. This can be complemented by a systems analysis for determining how the relevant parts of a health or social system currently work and identifying options for doing things differently, and/or a political analysis for understanding the political factors that may affect whether and how issues move onto government agendas and policy decisions are made. This can include conducting jurisdictional scans and key informant interviews to harness a range of insights to contextualize the evidence identified.

In addition, contextualized evidence syntheses can be used to inform value-added processes such as horizon-scanning panels designed to identify, refine and prioritize upcoming key health- and social-system challenges and/or deliberative processes (e.g., citizen panels and stakeholder dialogues) designed to spark action to address pressing challenges.

Contact us at to set up a service agreement so your organization can call on us when a contextualized evidence synthesis is needed (or to initiate a request if your organization is covered under an existing service agreement).

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