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Table 2 Summary of desk review methods used in four case examples

From: Addressing culture and context in humanitarian response: preparing desk reviews to inform mental health and psychosocial support

Determining the timeline
Defining the target population and context
Defining the question and scope
Defining the rationale and purpose
Selection of the research team
Selection of data collection and synthesis methods
Haiti (2010) 3 weeks Persons living in Haiti affected by the earthquake Haitian mental health and services To inform immediate and long-term efforts to improve mental health services in post-earthquake Haiti 19 experts and student volunteers Rapid review of academic databases to retrieve peer-reviewed and non-academic literature; Hand search of key resources
Nepal (2015) 8 weeks Persons living in Nepal affected by the earthquake Mental health and psychosocial wellbeing in Nepal To serve as a resource for humanitarian actors responding to the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal 98 experts and volunteers Rapid review of academic literature, agency websites and expert recommended resources; WHO/UNHCR MHPSS Toolkit Desk Review methods and structure; “Crowd writing”
Syria (2015) 96 weeks Persons residing within Syria and Syrian refugees affected by armed conflict Cultural aspects of mental health and psychosocial wellbeing To serve as a resource for MHPSS staff working with conflict-affected Syrians to assist in design and delivery of interventions 68 experts Review of academic and non-academic literature and reports; Hand search of key resources
Tanzania (2016) 52 weeks Adult female refugees from Eastern DRC with a history of SGBV affected by armed conflict Mental health and psychosocial wellbeing in the context of SGBV in Congolese populations To inform the development of a mental health and psychosocial intervention and the protocol for a randomized trial for Congolese survivors of SGBV in Nyarugusu refugee camp, Tanzania 5 researchers/study investigators and staff Review of academic literature and agency websites; Iterative drafting and revision process among investigators
  1. Abbreviations: DRC, Democratic Republic of the Congo; IASC, Inter-Agency Standing Committee; MHPSS, mental health and psychosocial support; SGBV, sexual and gender-based violence; UNHCR, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; WHO, World Heath Organization
  2. Access to desk reviews: Haiti (; Nepal (; Syria: (; Tanzania (