We undertook a literature review on effective ways to prevent and mitigate violent conflict in order to inform evidence-based policy and research.
Yadaira Orsini, Rob Morris UK Department for International Development (DFID)
We completed a Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA) of the literature on effective ways to prevent and mitigate violent conflict. Insights from this research study have helped support a review of DFID’s Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Framework.
Despite growing prominence of conflict prevention and mitigation on international foreign policy and development agendas, there have been few attempts to systematically review recent literature to inform evidence-based policy and research. Our review addressed this knowledge gap and was designed to maximise transparency, replicability and the potential for future additions.
Conflict prevention and mitigation is increasingly regarded as a central policy objective for many international actors. At the global level, Sustainable Development Goal 16 signals an international commitment to reducing and preventing all forms of violence and combatting terrorism and crime.
Given that a large proportion of the world’s extreme poor are living in fragile and conflict-affected states, in addition to reducing human suffering, conflict prevention and mitigation can support poverty reduction.
Together with the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), we systematically analysed the available literature, conducting a search and quality assessment. This involved:
- Precise specification of the inclusion criteria, keywords, search strings and data sources;
- comprehensive quality assessment based on guidance set out in the DFID’s How To Note;
- rigorous quality assurance of the systematic search and quality assessment;
- thematic analysis of findings according to type of intervention; and
- identification of promising research methods and priorities for future research topics.
Our review helps to identify gaps in current research and provides promising examples of high-quality research methods for policy makers and practitioners alike. It has also provided a key input into DFID’s internal review of its Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Framework.
More broadly, by defining the systematic search and quality assessment protocols clearly, we have helped ensure that future researchers can add to, or update, the evidence base without duplicating efforts.