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Table 3 Considerations for developing and conducting desk reviews

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

For whom: Dissemination
1.1 What is your plan for dissemination? Who is the primary end-user of the desk review and how will you ensure that they receive it?
1.2 What language is most commonly spoken by the end-users? Will the desk review need to be translated? Who will do the translation and who will check it?
1.3 What is your plan for evaluating the application and utility of the desk review in informing humanitarian response?
When: Determining the timeline
2.1 When does this desk review need to be available to be useful for reasonably informing humanitarian response?
Where: Defining the target population and context
3.1 Where is the target population and how are they defined in terms of geographic, social, and cultural characteristics?
3.2 Which sociocultural factors require particular attention?
Why: Defining the rationale and purpose
4.1 Why has the particular agency or stakeholder requested the review at this time?
4.2 What is the purpose/objective(s)? How will it be used?
4.3 What gaps in knowledge among humanitarian responders will this desk review fill?
What: Defining the question and scope
5.1 What aspects of mental health and psychosocial wellbeing, socio-cultural context and humanitarian response are most relevant to the context and purpose of the desk review?
5.2 Information from which populations (person, place and time) and issues might provide relevant data to inform mental health and psychosocial practices in the target population?
Who: Selection of the research team
6.1 How many people are needed to achieve the objectives/purpose within the timeline?
6.2 Are there experts on mental health and psychosocial support from the specified target population/context available and able to contribute?
6.3 If the conduct of the desk review requires a large team(s), how will communication and tasks be coordinated?
6.4 What regional experts and stakeholders will review the report?
How: Selection of data collection and synthesis methods
7.1 What data sources (e.g., academic, websites, agency reports, news sources, etc.) are relevant to the scope of the desk review?
7.2 What languages need to be included in the search?
7.3 What (combination of) search terms will identify the relevant literature?
7.4 Does the search strategy produce an adequate and manageable number of results (maximize sensitivity and specificity) relative to the resources available to conduct the review?
7.4 How will search results be documented?
7.5 How will literature be literature be reviewed to extract and synthesize relevant information? (e.g. use of structured recording forms)
7.6 How will reading and writing tasks be organized among team members. How will the final report be edited and formatted?
7.7 What level of detail is important for each section of the desk review?
7.8 Who will edit the final report for accuracy and consistent style?