Dealing with disaster databases - What can we learn from health and systematic reviews?

Ishani Kar-Purkayastha*, Mike Clarke, Virginia Murray

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    13 Citations (Scopus)


    There is an increasing move towards facilitating the use of research findings in policy and practice relating to disaster risk reduction and response. One of the key issues is the quality of the evidence available to decisionmakers. Disaster databases, as a key resource, represent a tremendous investment of effort and goodwill. However, their usefulness is limited by the variability in how they are compiled, differences in the output they produce, a general lack of comparability and standardization, and the fact that they might produce different results due to the ways they have been created or by chance. One possible solution to this, which has been applied successfully in evidence synthesis in health care is the systematic review. In this study we attempt to show how the systematic review process may be applied to information and data that is held in disaster databases. We demonstrate that systematic reviews of disaster databases can be achieved in a technical sense and the potential value of such reviews, but also discuss the practical difficulties that arise.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numberecurrents.RRN1272
    JournalPLoS Currents
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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