Keywords

systematic review, database, analysis software, environmental flow

Start Date

1-7-2012 12:00 AM

Description

Balancing the needs of the environment with human uses of natural ecosystems relies on understanding causal relationships between environmental stressors and ecological responses. Causal relationships are difficult to demonstrate in natural environments due to environmental heterogeneity, lack of replication, and confounding influences. Published scientific literature is a currently under-used source of evidence for such analyses. We describe the Eco Evidence Database – a web database application for storing and sharing the atomized findings of research studies from the literature. This ‘evidence’ can then be used in synthesis studies to test cause-effect hypotheses. The database provides a permanent, machine-independent repository for causal evidence. Moreover, it allows users to access evidence items entered by previous users, thereby reducing the burden of extracting evidence from the literature. The database provides quick and open access to the summarized findings of research to researchers and managers. It employs standard lists of causes and effects to avoid semantic uncertainty between researchers and to facilitate searching. The Eco Evidence database supplies evidence to a desktop analysis tool – the Eco Evidence Analyser, which synthesizes the evidence using causal criteria analysis. However, the database also contains fields not currently used by the Eco Evidence method, and hence can export evidence for other types of causal analyses. Such assessments can be used to improve scientific understanding and the transparency and rigour of decision making by environmental managers.

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Jul 1st, 12:00 AM

Eco Evidence Database: a distributed modelling resource for systematic literature analysis in environmental science and management

Balancing the needs of the environment with human uses of natural ecosystems relies on understanding causal relationships between environmental stressors and ecological responses. Causal relationships are difficult to demonstrate in natural environments due to environmental heterogeneity, lack of replication, and confounding influences. Published scientific literature is a currently under-used source of evidence for such analyses. We describe the Eco Evidence Database – a web database application for storing and sharing the atomized findings of research studies from the literature. This ‘evidence’ can then be used in synthesis studies to test cause-effect hypotheses. The database provides a permanent, machine-independent repository for causal evidence. Moreover, it allows users to access evidence items entered by previous users, thereby reducing the burden of extracting evidence from the literature. The database provides quick and open access to the summarized findings of research to researchers and managers. It employs standard lists of causes and effects to avoid semantic uncertainty between researchers and to facilitate searching. The Eco Evidence database supplies evidence to a desktop analysis tool – the Eco Evidence Analyser, which synthesizes the evidence using causal criteria analysis. However, the database also contains fields not currently used by the Eco Evidence method, and hence can export evidence for other types of causal analyses. Such assessments can be used to improve scientific understanding and the transparency and rigour of decision making by environmental managers.